SFU Westhouse - The sustainable laneway home

This energy-efficient, green Laneway Loft House built by Smallworks was showcased at LiveCity Yaletown, David Lam Park, one of two City of Vancouver celebration sites, during the 2010 Winter Games. Smallworks’ founder Jake Fry joined the Mayor of Vancouver, Gregor Robertson, along with representatives from SFU and the Government of Canada to officially open the doors to West House, at 1 pm February 10th. The home was on display to the public until February 28, 2010. “We are delighted to be part of this important event that demonstrates made-in-B.C. green innovation and values,” said Fry. “Our role in building West House shows that, like the City of Vancouver, Smallworks is committed to building sustainable and humane housing with a small environmental footprint.”

Laneway houses are garage-sized structures built on the existing lot of a single-family dwelling (at least 33 feet wide and facing onto an open lane). They can be used by students, boomerang kids, aging family members, caregivers or others. These homes, which replace carports or garages, can help ease the severe housing affordability problem in Vancouver while serving as mortgage helpers.

West House, a two-level laneway loft house, with 610 feet of living space plus a 226-square-foot garage, is the first of its kind to be constructed in Vancouver since the City of Vancouver passed zoning for laneway housing. West House was built as a collaborative project between Simon Fraser University and the City of Vancouver with major sponsorship from Western Economic Diversification Canada and BC Hydro Powersmart. West House was built with local B.C. materials, including a cedar exterior, and outfitted with sustainable fixtures and appliances that meet Energy Star ratings. The fixtures and appliances in the home are so green that they require no more than 1.5 kWh of energy per person per day, under normal living circumstances. The average amount of energy used daily in a standard-sized home is over three kWh. The roof is a photovoltaic panel that generates over one kilowatt of electricity each day. West House’s Proprietary Building envelope surpasses standards set out in the City’s Green Code and is designed for superior air quality and thermal performance.  Architectural design by Birmingham and Wood

Photos by Keith Henderson Photography

West House is a made-in-Vancouver demonstration of a sustainable laneway home. It showcases leading-edge small footprint residential design, energy efficient, integrated systems and interactive technologies that encourage a sustainable


The result of a partnership between government, academia and industry, West House was showcased during the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Games at the Vancouver Yaletown LiveCity Site and is now in its legacy installation on a City of Vancouver owned site where it will serve as a technology showcase, research and development test bed, and "living lab"

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