Picture a home that is made almost entirely of non-toxic materials, is completely self-sustainable and gets stronger as it ages — sounds almost too good to be true, doesn’t it? But for Arno Keinonen, this is soon to be a reality.
And see it for yourself during Transition Sooke’s second Sooke Ecohome Tour on Oct. 14., which features the East Sooke home’s building site.
“Our house is the first in the world which uses the hemp-lime material as structural frame,” Keinonen said.
The material resembles Lego blocks, and is made from a Calgary-based company called JustBioFibre.
“We are just about retired, and we want to spend the money we earned throughout our careers getting rid of burning oil, and creating a more sustainable future for the generations ahead,” Keinonen said.
Keinonen said they are trying to use all non-toxic materials to build the house, making it better for the atmosphere and for people’s health, and hopes it will be used as an example for future buildings.
When the house is finished, it will be almost completely self-sustainable, using solar power for electricity, and using both a well and rain as a water source. Keinonen added that the house will also have a septic treatment system, so it will send clean water back in to nature.
Keinonen and his wife also both drive electric cars to lessen their environmental impact even more.
“So many people talk about a sustainable future and climate change, but I don’t think there are a lot of people taking serious action to make a difference,” he said. “It’s a no brainer, this is how houses should be built.”
His current home in Colwood is powered by solar panels, and was featured on a Solar CRD ecohome tour a few years ago. Keinonen said he is excited for people to come and see his new home, and hopes it will inspire people to be more eco-friendly too.
“To see pictures and read about it is one thing, but when people actually come and see the house with their own eyes is when they will realize how unique it is,” Keinonen said.
This year’s ecohome event will include tours of six homes, three in Sooke and three in East Sooke, and will give visitors a chance to see modern building techniques, geared towards lowering their environmental impact on Earth.
It will also feature a seventh stop at an average Sooke house, which will give people ideas on basic eco-friendly practices, and how to conserve energy in their own homes.
Jeff Bateman with Transition Sooke said they are dedicated to addressing climate change, and showcasing these alternative houses is a direct answer.
“Our mission is to build awareness to climate change and how to live more eco-friendly,” said Bateman. “There’s a trend happening and we basically want to show how that’s evolving in the Sooke region.”
Tickets cost $5 per person, or $10 per car load and are available only on the day of the event. They can be purchased at the Stick in the Mud Coffeehouse in Sooke.
If your household particpates in eco-friendly behavior, for example having weatherproofed doors or windows, water-heater blankets, energy efficient appliances, LED lighting, a heat pump or a wood-pellet stove and would like to have your home be the seventh stop showcased on this tour, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.