Renovation & Design

Green from the ground up

Dueck home environmentally friendly from top to bottom

In today's ballistically hot housing market, it's all too easy to find an infill lot, erect a good-looking home (at least, from the outside) and run off having made a quick profit.

That's not Cal Dueck's building philosophy -- not by a long shot.

"This is our fourth infill project in this general area (north Fort Garry)," says Dueck, owner/operator of Dueck Homes. "When we build a home, we want to build it right from the ground up. That's why we use insulated concrete forms (know as an ICF or Arxx foundation)."

Dueck says the reason behind using insulated concrete form technology is simple: in his opinion, it's the most efficient system on the market today.

"The walls come in at an insulation value of R50 -- that makes for cheaper heating and cooling as the insulated concrete stays at a temperature of about 10 degrees Celsius year-round. An example of that property is that we had the heat turned off at the end of February (when it was very cold out)," he says. "It wasn't until a few hours later that we realized the furnace wasn't on. It was that comfortable inside."

Two other properties make ICF construction a sound choice, adds Dueck: superior soundproofing and being quicker to build with.

"It might be a bit more expensive up front, but you save money in the long run in terms of labour and heating and cooling costs. There's also one more benefit that comes from building with insulated concrete forms -- the insulation from the ICF structure takes on the temperature of the home. That makes for a much warmer basement -- plus, you can drywall right over top of the Arxx -- there's no need to insulate."

To increase the home's energy efficiency and "green" features -- the two-storey, three-bedroom design measures in at 1,680 square feet -- Dueck also chose to go in a non-traditional direction heating-wise.

"We went with an electric furnace -- it's always 100 per cent efficient and is better than a natural gas furnace because nothing is wasted," he explains. "That makes it cheaper in the long run. It's also much more environment friendly than a gas furnace. This is a PowerSmart home that also has a 45 gallon PowerSmart hot water tank as well as an HRV system and energy-efficient lighting."

Which brings Dueck to another key point: 1139 Edderton's interior design is almost entirely green in nature.

"Our main goal is to build an efficient, environmentally-friendly home," he says. "The Arxx foundation and walls saves a lot of lumber and insulation, and we source all the concrete we use from Manitoba. Engineered joists and a silent floor system also saves wood."

The green features don't end there. Flooring throughout the main level is comprised of rich-looking, durable bamboo, and Dueck Homes crafts all the railings, mouldings, baseboards and trim themselves. Each bathroom has been outfitted with six-litre water-saving toilets and all the windows are (extra large) double pane "E" argon models by All Weather Windows.

To help retain the heat, the attic is also well-insulated -- to an R value of 50, no less.

"When we build a home, we're looking to achieve a good balance of efficiency and style," Dueck says. "So we invest more in the basics that matter."

That philosophy is apparent on the main floor where there is no lacking for style. A bright, open-concept maple island kitchen with corner pantry, desk and track lighting make for a great spot to create tasty meals, while an equally open living room with the aforementioned bamboo floors and room to burn can be easily configured to suit virtually any taste.

A main-floor master bedroom (with four-piece ensuite) and laundry room make for privacy and utility, while the two bedrooms upstairs -- plus 10-foot ceilings -- make for a design that's bright, functional and, most importantly, efficient.

"We do the whole thing from the foundation up," says Myron Martens, Dueck's second in command. "We're here from start to finish -- we start with the foundation and footings and then build up; we also do the interior design and layout, but assign the technical jobs like electrical to subtrades. We really take pride in the homes we build, and there's a real feeling of accomplishment when we see the finished project."

Dueck says all the features combine to make for a very efficient -- and attractive -- home.

"When you take the time to think things out, you cannot only come up with a design that fits in with an area, but that has green features that make it both functional and stylish," he says. "I'd have to say we're very pleased with how things turned out."


Browse Homes

Browse by Building Type