BONE Structure homes are constructed from pre-cut beams that interlock together. The building process generates no waste, and takes under a week to complete. Photo courtesy BONE Structure
Sept. 23, 2016 | Andrea Cox
Net-zero technology promises to revolutionize homebuilding
As provincial and federal building regulations become more focused on sustainable development, BONE Structure founder and CEO Marc Bovet has seized the momentum and is helping to reshape the way we think about homebuilding.
After a personal homebuilding project went sour 10 years ago, Bovet, fuelled by frustration, took it upon himself to innovate a better way to build.
He talked to people, researched and looked at the ideology behind Lego, eventually coming to the "aha moment" that formed the premise behind BONE Structure.
The process utilizes galvanized steel beams as the building blocks for the home, put together in much the same way as the children's Meccano construction set.
"It's all about process methodology. I'm compulsive about process," said Bovet, who spent several years working as a part of the senior management team at the aerospace giant Bombardier.
BONE Structure is versatile, creative, comes together easily and can create anything that can be imagined, said Bovet. The steel is precut and fits together seamlessly, using screws and a battery pack drill. The fire-resistant galvanized beams remain open like aerospace fuselage so plumbing, electrical and HVAC systems are easy to install.
"It's like what we were doing at Bombardier – jets were built all in one go."
And the two-fold insulation process – two-and-a-half inch polystyrene board and spray foam – makes the home highly energy efficient. The addition of solar panels completes the package, catapulting the home to net-zero distinction.
"It's like what we were doing at Bombardier – jets were built all in one go," said Bovet.
From Sept. 23 to 25, Calgarians will get a chance to check out the technology first hand by touring two BONE open houses. The homes are being built in partnership with Capstone and Empire Custom Homes.
Bovet noted the name BONE Structure garnered its inspiration from the human body.
"The Earth has seven billion people and we all have the same skeleton," he said. What makes us different is "our personalities, skin colour, eye colour."
BONE Structure relates those characteristics to a home's architecture and interior design. Like humans, each BONE Structure home is unique; integrating its own floor plan and flow, blending into the slope of the lot and optimizing orientation to best utilize the sun for heating and light. And exterior finishes and architecture run the gamut from contemporary to traditional.
Because the structure doesn't require the use of load-bearing walls, interior spaces are flexible, expandable and offer better use of space.
Once built, the home can be easily tweaked or reconfigured to accommodate for changes – a growing family, the transition into empty-nesterhood or a mother-in-law suite.
"This, in itself, is sustainable," said Bovet, noting the North American concept of jumping into a series of progressively larger homes is not eco-friendly.
And not having load bearing walls means a 2,000-square-foot home lives like a 3,000-square-foot home because of the efficient use of space and geometry.
"There is no cutting, no sawing, no piercing. We don't make dust, nothing like that."
The BONE Structure process is also good for the environment. It creates little or no waste on the job site, and the building process is relatively quiet.
"There is no cutting, no sawing, no piercing. We don't make dust, nothing like that. We don't have a waste container on site," said Bovet, adding the home's shell, including dry wall and windows, comes together in just over one week.
Bovet said this is significant on two counts.
"Sixty per cent of the waste that goes into our landfills comes from the construction industry," he said. "Our process will do a lot to lessen that statistic.
"Plus, BONE Structure is great for those inner-city rebuilds – there is absolutely no noise; it's pretty amazing."
And because the process involves engineered components coming together on the job site using only a battery pack drill, it mitigates the risk job site injury.
BONE Structure employs a comprehensive team of interior designers, urban planners, architects and engineers. It partners with builders in cities across North America.
To obtain the addresses of the open house properties and for more information, visit bonestructure.ca
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