Fusing Luxury with Energy Efficiency
Green Home Builder Magazine | April 2017, by Charles Bovet
Sustainability is becoming a top of mind issue for luxury home design. Just as the market for high end electric cars is exploding, there is equal demand and desire for beautiful homes that are “healthy,” both for the environment and for their inhabitants.
There is a high demand for custom homes that are healthy—both for the owner and the environment
– Charles Bovet
According to a report issued by the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. building sector consumes an estimated 41 percent of all energy. Within buildings, space heating and cooling and water heating and cooling are the largest energy consumers.
In California, the policy prescription to combat greenhouse gas emissions is zero net energy (ZNE). Adopted in 2007 by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), the established goal is for all new residential construction in California to be zero net energy by 2020.
A tight building envelope is the key to maximizing energy efficiency. Historically, this level of precision has been difficult to achieve and maintain with home building methods that use wood-frame or stick construction.
Traditionally, designers of wood-framed homes do not provide construction details regarding the complex intersections in the structure, often leaving skilled carpenters responsible for figuring out the details on the job site. This can be a difficult and time consuming process that often leads to errors.
These common errors and construction delays are the reason Marc Bovet, a former executive from Bombardier, the global leader in aerospace and transportation manufacturing, founded BONE Structure®. After a frustrating personal experience renovating his own home, Marc set out to apply the same aerospace assembly technologies he observed at work to luxury home construction.
With a mission to “Change the world of habitation, and change habitation all over the world,” the Quebec-based company developed a technology that combines aesthetics, flexibility, efficiency, and respect for the environment. Using a patented light steel frame building technology and integrated process, BONE Structure offers the only scalable solution for California’s 2020 Net Zero Energy goals. The shells are net zero ready, meaning they are extremely energy efficient and with the addition of a small solar system, can produce more energy than they consume.
Whereas traditional wood frame residential construction creates a lot of on site waste, BONE Structure creates custom homes built from columns and beams that are laser cut in a manufacturing plant and delivered to the site for assembly. Thanks to their proprietary IMS® Integrated Measuring System the shell of the home can be assembled in a matter of days by a certified team of four to five carpenters, each using only a battery powered drill, and one type of self-tapping screw, thereby allowing a significant reduction in labor hours and causing minimal disruption to neighbors.
A BONE Structure’s set of laser cut steel components include pre-planned, ready-made “highways” to accommodate building systems: plumbing, electrical, heating ventilation, and air conditioning. This avoids any potential clashes between the various trade workers on the jobsite. Precut insulation panels clip into place between the steel columns and soya-based polyurethane foam insulation is sprayed on the exterior, which tightly seals the building and acts as a vapor barrier. Together, the steel structure, insulation panels, spray insulation, and the roof create a tight, energy efficient envelope.
Due to the strength of its steel parts, architects have greater flexibility with the BONE Structure system. The system can support glass walls 20 feet in length, very large open interior spaces with clear spans of 25 feet and double height ceiling allowing for natural light throughout and future reconfiguration as needed. The home’s shell produces near zero waste, is made of up to 89 percent recycled steel, and is 100 percent recyclable, seismically resilient, and safe from damage by termites and mold.
BONE Structure’s technology pairs luxury design details, such as open interior spaces and large windows, with energy efficiency. With near zero waste job sites, mold and termite free structures, BONE Structure homes are healthy both for the environment and their inhabitants. They will adapt to the lifestyles of future generations, making it a solid real estate investment. To learn more, or see one of BONE Structures currently under construction in California, please visit: BONEstructure.ca.
Charles Bovet is the Vice President of BONE Structure, U.S., a Canadian-based designer and builder of luxury custom homes. For more information visit BONEstructure.ca.