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West House

SFU West House Homepage


"Laneway living: a new option"
New Local Home - Apr 8, 2010

"The little house that went to market"
Globe and Mail - Feb 5, 2010

"Laneway homes unveiled"
Vancouver Province - Feb 11, 2010

"Smallworks aims to make big impression during Games"
Business in Vancouver - Feb 16, 2010

"Showcase for 'smart' residency on display at LiveCity in Yaletown"
Vancouver Sun - Feb 19, 2010

"Mayor's laneway-home championship not echoed at city hall"
Vancouver Sun - Feb 20, 2010

  • West House
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This energy-efficient, green laneway 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. West House is now being returned to its legacy site at the Cedar Cottage Community Garden located at 2009 Stainsbury Avenue.

The two-level home, 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 recently 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.

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 the home, called West House, at 1 pm February 10th. The home will be 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 homes 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). The homes can be used by students, boomerang kids, aging family members, caregivers or others. Smallworks believes these homes, which replace carports or garages, can help ease the severe housing affordability problem in Vancouver while serving as mortgage helpers.

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 was made possible thanks to our Sponsors:

Simon Fraser University
City of Vancouver
Western Economic Diversification Canada
BC Hydro Powersmart

and our Partners and Contributors:

Embedded Automation
VerTech Solutions
Terasen Gas
MSR Innovations
Schneider Electric
Day4 Energy
Pulse Energy
Rainforest Automation
Laura Vroom Design
Live Simply Design
Inform Interiors


Dec 1, 2009 - Construction of West House offsite start

Jan 15, 2010 - Construction of West House offsite finish

Jan 18 2010 - Installation on Olympic site start

Jan 22, 2010 - Installation on Olympic site finish

Feb 12-28, 2010 - Olympic/Paralympic Games Showcase

April 1, 2010 - Deconstruction, move and installation to Legacy Site

June 1, 2010 - House occupation

July 1, 2010 - First prototype solar array refit

July-Sept 2010 - First full prototype of control system

June-Sep 2010 - First prototype of interactive system

July-Dec 2010 - First user study of interactive systems

Jan-Feb 2011 - Full sustainability/engineering analysis

Jan-Jun 2011 - Occupant study (second user study)

June 2011 - First full revision of control and monitoring system

Sep 2011 - Technology transfer outreach workshop

Oct 2011 - Prototype integration with Smart meters

Mar 2012 - Second revision of control and monitoring systems to integrate with SmartMeter and new devices

Mar 2012 - Analysis and second redesign of solar array

Feb 2012 - Solar thermal analysis and reimplementation

June 2012 - Architectural and design review

June-Dec 2012 - Final occupant studies and interface review.

Dec 2012 - The official project ends.