With the economy the way it is, retiring folks are downsizing or losing their homes, while newly educated folks are graduating with slim pickings. Not to be grim, but this is causing people to use property in new ways, such as with accessory dwelling units. The space can be used for family or as a rental to cover loose ends. In Vancouver, this is happening with laneway housing. Smallworks, a Vancouver-based design and build firm, specializes in small and laneway houses, just like this one, the West House.
West House is a two-level home with 610 square feet of living space — living/dining/kitchen area, loft bedroom, nook desk space, and bathroom — and a 226 square-foot garage.
The energy-efficient home, designed by Birmingham and Wood, was on display at LiveCity Yaletown, David Lam Park, during the Olympics.
On the exterior, West House is clad in cedar, while on the inside, the home is set up with locally sourced materials and smart technology. The appliances are Energy Star and per occupant energy use is estimated to be about half of that of someone using a standard-sized home.
When a home is built to be efficient from the ground up, a little bit of on-site green energy can go a long way. The roof has integrated, grid-connected solar panels that generate about one kilowatt of electricity per day.