A recent article in the renown GBA (Green Building Advisor) summarized the benefits of wood buildings over steel, concrete or any other “high energy” materials. Log buildings and cabins not only feel better then any other buildings, but they are also a great benefit for our planet.
Read the full article here on the GBA website.
There are many names for these secondary buildings, which people erect in their backyard to create more living space for themselves or their relatives and visiting friends.
Many people would also like to use granny or garden suites as rentals to supplement their income. A recent article in Victoria News reports that the rules have just been changed in North Saanich – the northern tip of the Saanich Peninsula. In 2011 North Saanich passed a bylaw to allow guest or caretaker cottages on any cottage bigger then 1 1/4 acre. In January 2014 the size of lots to allow for external suites was reduced to 1 acre, which will significantly increase the number of properties eligible for external rental buildings. Before 2010 the use of these guest cottages was very restricted, and only a caretaker or family member could live in them. But the municipality saw the need for more affordable rental places and therefore allowed garden suites and caretaker / guest cottages to be rented out.
Many other municipalities in the Greater Victoria area and on the Gulf Islands allow for such secondary buildings often referred to by many different names: Carriage home, garden suite, guest house or guest cottage… No matter what you call them, such buildings are great for everybody: Owners can use them for visiting friends or family or increase their income (or pension) through rent.
Vanisle Ecolog homes offers many different solutions to build such buildings, from square timber custom log homes to very affordable ready-to-assemble EZLog cabin kits. The most affordable building types for external suites are EZLog cottage and cabin kits: They can be built on any type of foundation, from slab-on-ground over wood foundations to crawlspaces. Many people like them for their charming looks and their all-natural wooden interior.
One challenge many people see is to overcome the hurdles of permits and building these structures in accordance with municipal bylaws and the building code. They can be built as summer cabins if people want to use them as a studio or as extended living space mostly in the summer. In this case not much insulation is needed. But Vanisle Ecolog homes can also design these buildings to be very energy efficient to provide comfortable easy to heat all year living spaces.
Vanisle Ecolog homes offers customers complete service packages to take care of everything, and to guide them through the whole process, from early planning until they are proud owners of a nice guest cottage.
I just came across this blog post from GBA (Green Building Advisors). It’s a not only a good summary of the most important technical terms used in the building industry, but it prioritizes the areas where you should look first if you consider to build a new home “greener” and more energy efficient.
I’m an avid reader of the GBA newsletter and blog posts. This team is really on top of things when it comes to green building.
Our focus as Vanisle Ecolog Homes is to build well performing log homes, cabins and cottages. Of course you cannot use all the same techniques in a log home as you do at a “regular” frame home. But many concepts do apply, and some need to be adopted to work with log homes and log cabins.
We use the Canadian “standard” software Hot2000 (from National Resource Canada) to model and check the energy performance for each home we design for customers.
I just created some new energy models for our new EZLog cabin and cottage kits. We developed a method to insulate these homes nearly without any thermal breaks, which leads to an excellent energy performance. And the construction technique we use is fairly easy to install and can be adopted to suite any climate – from the mild winters on Vancouver Island to “real winter” in Whistler.
Posted by Hermann Thoene | Posted in EZLog Cabin/Cottage Kits | Posted on 16-04-2013
Backyard cabins and cottages are becoming more and more popular in British Columbia: From 800 sqft all season cottages over enclosed gazebos or pavilions to micro houses or “bunkies”. People build these backyard structures for a variety of reasons:
- As in-law suite for aging parents
- Additional space for growing children
- Guest cottages for friends
- Rental suite to provide additional income
- Office or studio for artist or professionals working from home
And I’m sure there are many more reasons.
Backyard buildings are sustainable by using little material and utilizing existing infrastructure. Many municipalities see the advantages of these building and support them with special by-laws.
Most municipalities allow structures of less then 100 square feet in size without a building permit. Such small structures can be setup without a concrete foundation, by using concrete blocks or other simple mechanisms to create a level space.
Victoria has a special by-law to allow for so called “Garden Suites” if the properties fullfil certain requirements.
Metchosin and many rural municipalities like some of the Gulf Islands allow for detached secondary suites, often up to 750 square feet in size.
Some new residential developments like Westhills in Langford offer Laneway houses as part of their new residences. The city of Vancouver recognizes the benefits and importance of Laneway houses by providing a special program for these type of buildings.
The Vancouver Sun recently published an interesting article called “Backyard Cottages a growing trend” with lots of examples why and how people want to have backyard buildings.
Vanisle Ecolog Homes offers a large selection of do-it-yourself log cabin and cottage kits, which are idea for backyard buildings.
Posted by Hermann Thoene | Posted in EZLog Cabin/Cottage Kits | Posted on 07-03-2013
Vanisle Ecolog Homes is now a dealer for EZLog log building kits in Western Canada. All kits are available FOB Nanaimo on Vancouver Island.
EZLog building kits are one of the best and most complete do-it-yourself kits available. The walls are built using tight fitting tongue & grove boards, resulting in a very air tight and robust structure.
Every log building kit includes all that is required for a lock up structure, from pressure treated foundation beams, floor, walls, windows,doors to the roof, including all hardware.
The EZLog product portfolio consists of a variety of buildings and wood structures – ranging from backyard bunkies and garden houses to play houses, garages to small cabins, to fully insulated large log cottages suitable for permanent residences.
EZLog building kits offer exceptional value. The ease of assembly minimizes the high labor costs of conventional construction, and the finished homes offer a very charming natural look with lots of wood on the interior and exterior.
Check out the new EZLog section on our website for pricing, specifications and a full catalog of EZLog products.