NEWS RELEASE                                                                                             DECEMBER 16, 2014

Laneway house grand opening and solar panel fundraiser
Photo, video and interview ops for media of new green residential building

What: Open house and media tour of the Ethel Lane House, with photo/video/interview opportunities for a new green residential building project

When: 3:30pm, Wednesday December 17, 2014
Where: 1949 Ethel St., Kelowna (located off the alley behind 1951 Ethel St.)

KELOWNA, BC – The sustainable house of tomorrow is here today.

The first registered Living Building Challenge project in Kelowna will be move-in ready for its new tenant in time for Christmas.
The Ethel Lane House is a pilot project undertaken by the Thompson-Okanagan Collaborative of the Cascadia Green Building Council. Registered with the global Living Building Challenge, the Ethel Lane House meets the world’s most rigorous design and construction standard and certification program.

The 640-square foot laneway home includes water and energy saving features in its design and has been built to suit the needs of an assisted-living adult. In order to increase energy efficiency, the family has started an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign to raise funds to purchase photo-voltaic solar-panels to help the home meet its energy-saving targets.


Deren Sentesy, building contractor with EnCircle Design Build Inc., led the design and construction of the Ethel Lane House.

“It was such a wonderful experience building for Jordan and his family,” says Sentesy, who chairs the Thompson-Okanagan Collaborative of the Living Building Challenge.


“I look forward to seeing him move in and experience independent living in a home that is good for him and for the environment. I am excited to see how the building performs over the next year and obtain official Living Building certification. The photo-voltaic solar-panels are a crucial component of that certification process.”

The Ethel Lane House is hosting a move-in party for the occupant. An open house, including a tour of the sustainable home, takes place at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, December 17, at 1949 Ethel St. The laneway house is located off the alley behind 1951 Ethel St. Media organizations are invited to tour the Ethel Lane House and interview members of the Thompson-Okanagan Collaborative of the Cascadia Green Building Council, and invited guests.


The Living Building Challenge comprises seven standards of high-level building performance: site, water, energy, health, materials, equity, and beauty. Builders with registered projects must meet these rigorous standards to claim their project as one of the most sustainable and green buildings in the world.

More information:





  • There are 15 Living Building projects registered in Canada, including eight in BC. The Ethel Lane House is the first residential building in the Thompson-Okanagan and the third in BC. The Jim Pattison Centre of Excellence at Okanagan College in Penticton is the first institutional building to meet the Living Building criteria.
  • There are currently five Certified Living Buildings in the world. More than 116 registered Living Building challenge projects are in various stages of design and construction world-wide.


Deren Sentesy

Thompson-Okanagan Collaborative of the Cascadia Green Building Council


Ethel Lane House Launch Party

Fantastic event.  Thank you to everyone that took the time to join us.  Thanks to Jordan Lige’s family for making this possible.

The goal of the night was to share with the community an overview of the project and introduce the family to the community.  We opened the event by presented a brief overview of the project and how it relates to the Living Building Challenge.  Then we heard from Jamie and Trevor of Integral Design Group about the thought behind the mechanical systems. Lastly the owners Joanna and Nathan shared a few thoughts about the process and their hopes for the project.

The evening was also attended by:

The Joanna and Nathan Lige family, Integral Design group, En Circle Design Build, UBCO Eco Art video documentary team, Allen & Mauer Architects, Hugh Bitz Architect, Stonebridge Contemporary Originals, Tatham Design Associates, Waterplay, Bench Landscape Architecture, and many other brilliant minds.

We look forward to our onsite workshop coming up in August/Sept.


Lessons from SFU

This past week we submitted Drawings to the city for Building Permits and are awaiting their return.

We had very insightful conversations with Mahvash Kourosh and Dale Mikkelsen who were key in developing the Simon Fraser University Child Care Centre   These conversations provided some great leads for water system and material sourcing.  Some highlights:

– Water petal is once again looking much more promising after talking to the suppliers of the SFU system.  We look forward to reaching a decision about the water systems in the next few days

– Materials Petal is still being a bit elusive.  We are confident that meeting the red list requirement will be pretty straight forward (probably the optimist in us coming forth).  But the challenge for this project may lie in the FSC lumber requirement.  In Canada FSC lumber is not readily available.  Don’t miss understand, there is a lot of FSC cut blocks in BC but the lumber from those cut blocks is shipped directly to the US.  For us to procure FSC lumber we actually need to purchase the wood in “lifts” (that is a huge pile of lumber) and have it trucked back up to us from the Portland or Seattle.  Not a very good carbon foot print. We are working towards using the same strategy as SFU did with their lumber procurement by purchasing wood directly from mills that were processing “Pine beetle killed lumber that was destined to be clearcut anyway in order to stem the spread of the infestation.”

Met with our clients again today and we had some very lively discussion around the various petals of the Living Building Challenge.  They are both very excited to be part of the process.

Lastly, The Vancouver Foundation has graciously offered to extend the deadline for their assisted living grant funding to the end of January.  This will give us time to receive our Building Permits and get our material packages ordered.

Look forward to an exciting week.


Living Building Challenge Registered

We have registered our first LIVING BUILDING CHALLENGE project, a small 640 sqf carriage house in Kelowna.  The project will be a landmark project for small, affordable dwellings.  Our efforts are focused on designing the space and systems to meet all of the Living Building Challenge criteria.

The legislative challenges will be handling the leachate from our proposed composting toilet (considered black water) and designing a rain water treatment system that exceeds the requirements for potable water.

In long discussions with the planning department in Kelowna BC some striking legistlative difference were illuminated between Canada and the US building code systems.  In the US there are a number of state and national building codes that municipalities can CHOOSE from and adopt into their own building code.  We can only imagine that this system would make more work for local municipalities to administer.  However, it would give them the flexibility to adapt to local environments and community initiatives.  In Canada, and BC specifically, Building code is the responsibility of the province. and every municipality must meet the building code.  Municipalities do not have the ability to change or alter the code in anyway.  One of the simple examples is the “western” style board walk in Winthrop, Washington.  Their wooden board walk, in keeping with the “western” style of the town.  BUT it would not meet building code in BC and therefore would be nearly impossible to get approved by any municipality.

The only work around for project teams designing with new ideas is to apply for an “Alternative Solution.”  These are difficult to get approved and are considered by the Provincial Building Code to be a “one off.” As a result all of the approved “Alternatives Solutions” are not publicized, or used to set precedence for future building code, but instead put away in a filing cabinet somewhere.

We are optimistic that about our chances to meet the water petal.  Stay tuned.