Architect Shafraaz Kaba, his wife Serena and son Adar, 9, live in a self-designed energy-efficient home in Edmonton, Alberta, according to The Vancouver Sun.
Their 2,400-square-foot, Ada Boulevard home was ready for them last summer and is tall and long. The outside of the home on a triangular corner lot is adorned in corrugated metal typically used on farms. In sits in view of the river valley and the downtown skyline. Shafraaz told The Vancouver Sun that he loved the spot from the moment he set eyes on it.
The entrance leads to a hallway of polished concrete with doors to bedrooms, bathroom, storage and studio. The floors are part of a passive solar heating system that warms the floors by day and the heat is released slowly at night.
A cast-iron bathtub sits in the main floor bathroom, along with a large mirror salvaged from an about-to-be-demolished, once-glorious mansion. Made from waste lumber, the counter is laminated and topped with a glossy wood veneer.
Most of the indoor and outdoor trim is crafted from experimental carbonized wood. Researchers at Alberta Innovates-Technology Futures (AITF) have attempted to create useful products out of forests decimated by the pine-beetle plague. Different from the chemical treatments of other trim woods, AITF’s carbonized wood is created in a benign heating process. It’s still being tested for its durability, and Shafraaz was happy to use his home as a laboratory.
Unlike a typical home, the kitchen and living room are on the second floor. In the kitchen, they continued the use of concrete floors, and incorporated reclaimed church-pew window benches and gloss-black doors on the pantry. The doors also came from the old mansion, from its massive fridge and freezer. Included upstairs is also a home-schooling space where the floor is reclaimed from a school gym, and a large outdoor patio, where there is a view. They made use of their space with a guest room and library; the bookshelves made from scraps salvaged from framing the home.
Shafraaz said his goal in designing and building the house was to eliminate waste and be as gentle on the environment as possible. Thus the solar panels, the passive solar heating, the salvaged materials and use of chemical-free, carbonized wood. There is no gas line on the property. If the family isn’t comfortable, scrap wood is burned in the glass-front wood stove.
Shafraaz said he gets “positive vibes” from people who visit his home on local eco-tours. He is immediately reminded of why he built the home, to show that reducing, recycling and eliminating are doable and even comfortable.
“This is the epitome of Edmonton,” says Shafraaz. “You have the river and the trees, the parks and the skyline, and you have industry.
“Seeing that,” says Shafraaz, looking toward refinery row, “reminds me of how we have to reconcile our energy use.”
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