Rising land and housing prices in other parts of the Shuswap have led a developer to build in Sicamous to a price point more people can afford.
Green Emerald Construction is bringing the technology and building techniques they use in larger homes to what will be a 95-unit development of more modestly sized and priced homes in Sicamous.
Gary Arsenault of Green Emerald Construction, said the homes’ walls will be built from structural insulated panels (SIPs).
The SIPs are manufactured off-site with the insulation and holes for wiring built in. The panels are custom-built based on blueprints for each house. The finished product is a thick wall packed with insulation which allows builders to frame houses quickly and keeps heat in well.
The foundation the single-level homes will be built on is also designed to maximize energy efficiency. Arsenault said there will be a 3 1/3-inch layer of insulating foam beneath each of the concrete pads which the houses will sit on rather than a basement or crawlspace. Well-insulated attics and heat-pump heating and cooling are other environmentally-friendly features of the homes.
“They go up really fast and its like living in a Styrofoam cooler. You’re living in a thermos, they’re so well insulated and with the heat pumps they’ll be low-cost to heat and cool,” Arsenault said.
“We’ve been winning awards for our energy efficient construction style houses. So what we’re doing is we’re taking that technology and we’re doing it on lots in Sicamous that are a little more affordable.
“We’ve been hearing over and over again that there’s a real shortage of housing in Sicamous, especially affordable ones.”
Two houses in the development are under construction, with the one which will act as the show home nearing completion.
The housing development located at 711 Parksville St. will be a bare-land strata Arsenault said. He said he thinks the new development will be well- received by the community because most of Sicamous’ housing stock is either quite old or very expensive.
A report on the housing situation in Sicamous that was presented to the district in September stated two-thirds of the area’s housing stock was built before 1990.
Arsenault said the houses in the development will be 1,200 square feet on average, but they have plans as small as 800 square feet.
The houses that are in progress will both have two bedrooms and a den as well as a two-car garage.
The development will not be age-restricted and so Arsenault said he hopes it will appeal to young families and first-time homebuyers. He said the homes will be priced at $360,000 and up.
He said the homes can be purchased at any point in the building process, allowing the owners to customize them to their liking.