A Winnipeg-based builder is trying to change the industry with their prefab, net zero detached homes. KITHOUSE is about to make waves, and Ontario may need it now more than ever.
According to a recent story in Sustainable Biz Canada, Eric Bjornson, president of KITHOUSE, wants to be the IKEA of the new home industry. “We think we could be one of the biggest builders in the country one day, all shipping out of Winnipeg,” he says.
He has more than 10 years of experience building custom, net zero detached homes. When it comes to building net zero, affordability can be an obstacle, and that’s where KITHOUSE comes in with their prefab model.
The first model to hit the market is the KITHOUSE Premiere, which is an 800 square foot, two-bedroom detached home designed to be built in cottage country and remote areas. The home systems include high-efficiency appliances, passive solar shading, foam-free insulation, solar panels, triple pane windows, energy efficient water distribution, and much more. With these features, the home is net zero in 90% of where Canada’s population resides.
The KITHOUSE Premiere can be delivered with all the necessary parts in one container and nothing has to be cut or measured, just assembled. Construction takes approximately 30 days. Including construction and all parts, the home costs just $180,000. Plus, it can connect to the grid and distribute excess energy it generates, so you can potentially earn energy credits!
Bjornson makes another good point in the Sustainable Biz story; the national building code requires new construction to be net zero by 2030, and the country does not seem to be on track. There are a couple builders in Ontario building net zero homes (Reid’s Heritage Homes and Minto), but we feel like the industry is pretty far from being completely net zero…and the clock’s ticking.
Ontario actually took a step backwards recently with the new leadership putting an end to the GreenON program, which offered rebates for energy efficient home upgrades. The funding was lost with the end of the cap-and-trade carbon tax, which Doug Ford promised to get rid of so people could save money at the gas pump.
Perhaps KITHOUSE would be a great addition to Ontario’s new home industry in the shocking absence of energy efficient retrofit incentives. KITHOUSE is in the process of designing its next model, which will be a 1,500 square foot, four-bedroom home, so families would have a great move-up option.
Right now, KITHOUSE is great for cottage country and remote areas, but we feel like all it takes is a partnership with a big builder in order to launch an entire community of prefab, net zero detached homes in the Greater Toronto Area.
So, if KITHOUSE’s prefab models prove to be as amazing as they sound, which GTA builder will step up and help bring these homes to Ontario?