13 | Single Family Build SMART | The Joseph House

Energy Efficiency made Simple

The Joseph House Project

We often look to the younger generation to be ahead of the curve, setting trends and embracing innovation. So why are two of the Greater Toronto Area’s earliest adopters of Passive House methodology a retired couple? The older generation can still teach the younger generation a thing or two about the future.

“We bought a Build SMART package in which the outside walls, doors and windows came pre-installed, the 1305-square-foot first floor was put up in nine hours, and the second floor in six. And we didn’t require a dumpster. Just a couple of bags of empty sealant tubes as garbage.”

-Jim Joseph, Homeowner

The cost to build vs. the cost to live

On the surface it seems reasonable for people designing and building a new home to strive for the largest home their building site and budget can accommodate. Or is it?

It depends on whether your focus is on the cost to build OR the cost to live.

Homes that feature more square feet of conditioned space are subject to higher property taxes, and higher utility bills. Then there’s the cost of furnishing and maintaining square footage that may only get occasional use.In the custom housing market today the trend is moving away from building bigger to building better. And as you build better houses -flexible living spaces that provide more comfortable, more energy efficient living conditions – the foot print of a new home tends to shrink.

So while your initial cost to build a 3000+ square foot house to code, vs. a higher performing 2500 square foot house may not decrease, your ongoing cost to live does.

Better built homes reward you with better health, lower taxes, reduced heating and cooling bills and reduced ongoing maintenance for the life of the home. These contribute to a higher quality of life.So as you struggle to fit you dream home into a budget you can afford, remember that the challenge of funding the cost to build should be short lived. But the rewards of building better can last a lifetime.



Haliburton, ON

Project Type

Single Family


2 stories, 2,600 square feet

Air Changes Per Hour


Project Profile Sheet

Prairie Design Build Architect plans

Prairie Design Build Construction

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