What is one piece of information your father has given you about being a sustainable contractor and renovator?
My dad has always taught me to live by the “make it right” mentality. This mentality means that whatever you do in life, whether cooking dinner, dealing with work, relationships, etc., you do it to the best of your ability the right way. Doing one thing is how we view doing everything. So, as a contractor, how I view renovations is that we want to leave things better than when we got there, and that includes both the community and the environment.
What are some ways you can build a home while being environmentally conscious?
We do our best to upcycle where we can and use sustainable, renewable materials where we can. The most crucial part of being a sustainable contractor/renovator is building to last and working from the outside in. When you build a home that doesn’t mould and is fire-resistant, hurricane-resistant, and thermally broken from the outside with quality materials that will stand the test of time, that’s the best way to be sustainable. If we had more homes that were built this way, we wouldn’t be renovating brand-new homes that are poorly built. A lot of construction material could be kept out of landfills that way.
Why do you believe it’s important to follow the natural cycle of a tree as a woodworker?
I’ve always hated the thought of cutting down perfectly good trees that are in the prime of their cycle. Trees are obviously such an important part of nature because of the homes they provide for animals and insects, photosynthesis, and many other reasons. We need to be conscious of where we get our materials and make sure that our lumber is sustainably sourced. As a woodworker, I try to source wood that is FSC certified. The Forest Stewardship Council’s (FSC) top priority is to manage the protection of lumber and wood products sustainably. In the past, there has been a lot of clear-cutting and devastation in forests, leading to the extinction of many different species and other environmental issues. Much like how we view homes, we should always look at Mother Nature with the view of leaving it better than how we found it.
What inspired you to become a professional contractor, and where can we learn more about sustainable construction?
I would be lying if I said my dad didn’t influence my interest in becoming a contractor. Seeing how much material goes in and out of a home when renovating has always amazed me. When we demolish homes, seeing all of that garbage go into a landfill has never sat well with me. Since starting in construction, I’ve always wanted to build and renovate homes to last, with quality/sustainable products that won’t need to be replaced for a long time. There are a lot of good products out there and some not-so-good ones, so it’s up to us as professionals in the industry to teach people why it’s important to use quality products. When we build better, we will have a positive chain reaction. People will live in homes where they won’t get sick because of poor indoor air quality. They won’t have to fix or renovate them as often; they will save energy with a better-built home, and of course, this will positively affect the environment when we don’t have to demand as much from it.
There are so many great resources out there for sustainable construction. There are lots of websites like fsc.org, makeitright.ca, and many more! I would always advise people to get different opinions from different people and places and form their own opinion.