Sustainability in residential design can mean many things, but for one Edmonton family, the term represents a collage of meaningful attributes — namely family-friendly, healthy and energy-efficient living.
Two years ago they moved into their 4,489-square-foot, four-level infill in Edmonton’s coveted community of Garneau. The award-winning design — it won the 2020 Award of Excellence in Housing for an infill over 4,000 square feet from the Canadian Home Builders’ Association-Edmonton Region — embraces the clean lines and clarity of contemporary minimalism, while incorporating plenty of green features from the recently added rooftop solar panels to an uber-tight building envelope and even a floor-to-ceiling living wall.
The owners, who both work at the University of Alberta,had a significant list of must-haves.
“The goal was to try to put them all into the house,” says the husband, Justin, who asked to be quoted with just his first name for privacy reasons. “And for the most part, we got everything that we wanted. I don’t think we would change a thing.”
The list included a timeless, family-friendly floor plan, with plenty of room for the kids to run around — the owners have four busy and energetic children ranging in age from a one-year-old toddler to teenagers — an unadorned esthetic punctuated with thoughtful details creating an overall welcoming warmth, a designated children’s wing and play area, as well as a large open family space, fluid movement between the indoors and outdoors and an attached garage.
“Sustainability was just a given,” says Justin, noting that he and his wife chose the community of Garneau for its location and walkability. “We didn’t want to spend 40 minutes each way in a car driving to work. We wanted more time for the priorities like family, like exercise,” he says. “Now it takes us five minutes to walk to work.”
To achieve the goals, the family brought on architect Louis Pereira of Thirdstone Inc., and Effect Home Builders, an Edmonton homebuilder known for its net-zero designs.
“Over the past few years there has really been an awakening,” says Les Wold, sales and marketing manager for Effect Home Builders. “People are becoming much more aware of what is available, and they are investing in their forever home — the home has really become the centre, especially now. Flexibility in design — for work spaces, for aging in place and sustainability — are very top-of-mind.”