Frank Desrosier and partner Andrea Ferguson’s ultra-contemporary Edward Street home is a head-turner for its bold styling, but did you know it’s also a green and affordable home?

Veccio e Nuovo, the model of their dream home — which means old and new — is design for a budget, because in Revelstoke lifestyle is a priority for most. (By chance, I saw both of them riding Frisby Ridge in the middle of the afternoon the day I was writing this!) You can build a green home and still live the Revelstoke dream.

The process of designing and building with a budget goal is difficult, according to builder Greg Hoffart of Tree Construction. Often single decisions have collateral effects on the budget that can be detrimental to meeting those goals. Taking a design and strategically designing for the site is one of the most important and overlooked principles in the design process.

According to Hoffart, the integrated design process was extensively used in this project. The result is the budget heavily dictated the design. Approaching the table with the absolute bare bones of homes, and keeping the shape to a simple rectangle started the process. Following a simple orientation of rooms, and organizing windows to adequately daylight interior spaces all while taking in the views of Mount Begbie and Mount Macpherson.

The Frank Desrosier house under construction.
The Frank Desrosier house under construction.

Benefits of ‘daylighting’ lend themselves to windows on double duty, bringing in light and views, and bringing an element of solar heat gain. With a tight building envelope, and over-insulation, the solar heat gains lend themselves to a savings in winter heat loads. The benefits of investing in good windows will far outweigh the upfront costs of the window, and they will lend themselves to ensuring a comfortable thermal gradient within the house.

Veccío e Nuovo invested in windows, insulation and used old materials found and repurposed to finish the interior. The opposite approach of using old materials cut to fit and finish out a new space proved to be a far better cost savings then using new material to renovate an old space. This approach also accentuated the old patina of the material, bringing to life a rustic modern vernacular.

The savings in using repurposed material and smart design features, gave the owners the option re-invest into other elements or add options. One of the smart design features included foundation dimensions matching the Insulated Concrete Form (ICF) system. This approach made the foundation labour lightning-fast, and substantially cheaper material, as there was no waste. Waste not, want not!

The Frank Desrosier house nears completion in winter.
The Frank Desrosier house nears completion in winter.

One such element Tree Construction was able to add-on or create was the covered porch and deck area at the back. This offered a place to take in a sunny morning, sit outside in the rain, and share barbecue nights with friends. Another example is the over insulated north side of the building reused the form material. Again, the re-purposing of material through smart design planning gave material a chance to do two-things, and reduce the amount of construction waste going to landfills.

Veccio e Nuovo, lives large and fits like a well-tailored suit, not too big, nor too small. A classic, that fits just right!

Would you like to learn about the affordable, green revolution in Revelstoke?

On August 6, The Sustainability Living Committee of the North Columbia Environmental is hosting a green building tour starting at 6:30 p.m. at 404 Connaught Street.
From there, they’ll go to 304 Edward (the Frank Desrosier house above) around 7:15 p.m., where green builder Greg Hoffart will discuss the construction of the building.The tour will finish with a visit at John Pallas’ by turtle corner at 2297 Airport Way.

Words by Greg Hoffart and Agathe Bernard