Broadcasting from Nelson BC



The past year has been a momentous one. Not only did we finally reached the Occupancy stage on Nelson’s first PassiveHouse, but I also partnered with two local architects to launch a new firm called Cover Architectural Collaborative Inc. If that wasn’t enough, my partner Keiko and I celebrated the birth of our first child, Elias. Our apologies to those who were following the progress of the build via our blog; it has been a while since our last post.

In an effort to bring you up to speed, we’ve created an album on our Facebook page called Bedford RoadHouse: From Planning to Occupancy. These images provide an overview of the construction process of a certified PassiveHouse, from Planning to Occupancy and all the steps in between.

Stay tuned for more detailed analysis on the process, more information on Cover and maybe even a baby photo or two.

Affordable Sustainable Housing Conversation Cafe

A good overview of the presentations, discussions and ideas generated at the recent conversation cafe on affordable sustainable housing has been written up by the good people at EcoSociety.

Talking about our PassiveHouse project at the conversation cafe.

An eager crowd of over 100 turned out to talk about sustainable and affordable housing at Oso Negro Coffee House in Nelson on Nov 22. “There’s a real passion to create housing solutions,” said John Alton, who organized this first in a series of West Kootenay EcoSociety Conversation Cafes. Upcoming Café events will cover forestry, energy, food systems and other topics.“It was great to have a mix of presenters,” one participant commented. The Café had speakers from the Nelson Housing Society, Nelson City Council and planning as well as a tiny house builder, a “PassiveHouse” designer and a backyard house builder. Continue reading…

It felt great to be part of the discussion and we’re looking forward to what comes next in this series.


LADC in Local Energy Heroes column

Local Energy Heroes articleOur PassiveHouse triplex was recently featured in The Nelson Daily as part of the Local Energy Heroes column by environmentalist and author Michael Jessen. In his article, Michael shares some surprising facts and figures around energy use today.

In 2010, it is estimated the world’s humanity consumed approximately 550 exajoules or 523 Quadrillion BTUs of primary energy. (One exajoule is equivalent to 174 million barrels of oil and one barrel of oil yields 19.4 gallons of gasoline, enough to drive my Toyota Corolla about 1,560 kilometres or 970 miles). Cheap energy is becoming a distant memory, so what’s the solution to both escalating costs and spiralling usage?

The article goes on to point out some examples of local efforts to provide alternate solutions, including the solar photovoltaic panels being installed on The Seed building in downtown Nelson, as well as the PassiveHouse model that we are undertaking.

Averaged over a year, Nelson receives 3.5 hours a day of usable solar energy. On Bedford Road in Blewett, Lukas Armstrong and his brother Max Karpinski are taking advantage of that sun to build a Passive House that will have total energy costs under $1,000 a year – 90 percent less than an average house.

He also does a good job of summarizing the PH building model.

Passive House is an approach to building construction that dictates space heating must consume no more than 15 kilowatt-hours of energy per square metre of floor area. This is achieved through dramatic improvements in the thermal and air tightness properties of the building envelope….“The third stud wall, called the installation cavity, is built on the inside of the vapour barrier,” said Armstrong. “This cavity holds all of the plumbing and electrical and is critical to ensure that the vapour barrier is perfectly sealed in order to achieve the all important .6 air changes per hour mandated by the Passive House Institute.”

Read the complete article on the Nelson Daily website.

Getting Involved


LADC, local design/build and our PassiveHouse project are beginning to generate some interest around town!

I recently spoke at the Kootenay Climate Action Exchange in Castlegar to an audience made up of local and provincial government, non-profit organizations, eco-groups, educational institutions, and citizens. Judging by the number of questions at the end, I would say that PassiveHouse will find a warm reception in the Kootenay Region.

A few days after that event, we hosted a successful open house at the PassiveHouse building site where we had a chance to meet with a good cross section of interested individuals.

Soon after I was interviewed by Michael Jessen from The Nelson Daily newspaper, for an article featuring local professionals addressing issues of energy and the environment. I’ll be sure to share that link with you when it has been published.

Later on in the week I was asked by John Alton of the EcoSociety, to take part in a panel discussion around affordable sustainable housing, happening at Oso Negro cafe on November 22. Earlier today, as a lead-up to the panel discussion, John invited me onto his Kootenay Coop Radio show called “ecocentric”. To hear how that conversation went, click the play button below:

Click to hear interview

Open House a Success

This past weekend we hosted an open house at the Bedford Road building site, as part of International PassivHaus Days. Over 40 people from Nelson and surrounding communities like Cranbrook and Castlegar came by (despite the pre-snow chill in the air) to see what we’ve been up to.

PassivHaus Open House - November 2012

Visitors tour the PassivHaus site.

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PassivHaus Days!

We are pleased to be taking part in International PassivHaus Days.

Come on down!

I will also be presenting our project at the Kootenay Climate Action Exchange, on Nov. 8th.

Details here: 


Stairs and the Second Stud Frame

Earlier in the summer we had paid a visit to Harrop Proctor Forest Products, a local FSC certified mill. Rami Rothkop showed us his selection of logs, from which he would cut all our timber stair material.

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Walls, Decks, Posts and Beams

Our wall system is a triple stud frame. I will speak more about this in a subsequent post. What I will mention, however, is that this system allowed us to build just the exterior 2×6 wall now, and the rest later; an important part of our strategy to get the roof on before the next wet season.

Our friend Herb Maan dropped in to help us out. Triple threat!



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Steel Beams

Once the foundation was complete we installed the steel beams that support the deck system.

We chose steel after doing a careful cost benefit analysis. Our other choice was wood, either solid or manufactured. We did not feel that wood was a good choice as it is susceptible to insects and rot. The cost was approximately 25% more than wood, taking into consideration the cost of additional concrete columns and associated labour.

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Floor System

After the long 6 weeks of rain, during which we slogged around in the mud building the foundation, we were very happy to be up out of the mud and working with wood again.

This was the real beginning of our summer, which proved to be  hot and sunny.

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It has been a busy summer, as you can well imagine. By necessity the blog was put on hold while we raced to get the roof on before the fall.

We reached that goal last week and I can now take the time to bring the blog up to speed.

At the end of the last post we had finished the excavation and the Insulated Concrete Forms (ICF), had been delivered to site.

At that point we began forming the footings and setting up the ICF.

Creating footings requires a series of accurately placed string lines and the use of lasers. This is a critical point in the construction process, as the accuracy of the footings influences the rest of the construction process.

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Two Months Later

We are now quite a bit further along than the following pics indicate. I’ll be bringing the blog up to date over the next week.

For now, enjoy a selection of pics from around the property after being on site for two months. First up is a shot of our agricultural area- gardens and greenhouses.

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The Camp

Once on site, we needed to get comfortable as we expect to spend the next 4-5 months living and working at 3457 Bedford. As designers and builders we felt that these projects should be visually compelling as well as functional.

The first project was a dining room/ kitchen/ bathroom facility. We believe that off-the-shelf dimensional lumber  and plywood are beautiful materials that typically gets hidden inside of layers of drywall, vinyl and cement board; which is unfortunate as BC is one of the top producers of wood products in the world. Here we showcase the warmth and appeal that these products can bring to a space. Admittedly  the spaces are a bit rough and tumble, but we intend to use the same products, with finer detailing, in the home we are building.


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The Building

This building responds to a complex set of constraints and parameters which create unique design opportunities. The skin of the building is still under development, as is the immediate landscaping, entrances and other aspects of the building. However, the images below illustrate the general direction.

SouthEast Corner

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The Site

We left Dawson Creek on a damp spring morning, a foreshadowing of the 5 weeks of rain we would face on arrival.

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Current Project : Partners and Support

LADC is currently focused on the design and construction of a PassivHaus (CanPhi) triplex outside of Nelson BC. The project is a joint venture between LADC and local design/build (owned by myself, my brother Max, and Patrick Zeimer), with financial support from the Province of British Columbia and Fortis BC.
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We are live!

Welcome to the LADC blog, coming to you from the Kootenay Mountains near Nelson BC.

LADC Studio

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