Looking to build a small home as eco as possible, where do we start?

Jenn Bisson Published: July 12, 2019, 12:12 p.m.Last updated: July 17, 2019, 12:47 p.m.

We are looking to build an approximately 30x30 small 2 story single pitch home,  with a budget of approx $200,000 in Edelweiss, QC - where do we start?

We are starting to look at lots, checking out acre or half acre lots since we are both suburb-phobic ( why move to the country if you don't have any privacy or even trees on your land right?) , I saw that Eidelweiss Lakes is making some LEED homes with you guys, which is fantastic, and lets us know that the area is eco-house-friendly with its regulations, what a relief!

We were thinking of building our own simple design but know we'd need help, advice, resources, etc to make it happen - we're coming in from Montreal, so we're not very familiar with Outaouais resources, can you recommend a group or organization or company we could look into for guidance to get the ball rolling? Thank you!

Responses (2)

Mike Reynolds
Mike Reynolds July 17, 2019, 5:08 p.m. Reply


Hi Jenn

I think the best place to start would be to go through our Green home building guide starting with the design and planning stage. Fill yourself with as much info as you can, and frankly I’d recommend going through the various videos on our page about the Edelweiss House. Here are a few pages I would recommend as a starting place.

That’s a start to a few pages that will at least help you get your head in the game to get an idea of what you want.

The budge you mention of 200K is not a particularly big one, and I hope that’s for the house alone and not the purchase of a lot, excavation, well, septic and permits. Typically speaking, you would find most builders will tell you to assume between 200 and 250 per square foot to build a home, though if you do a lof it yourself then you can save quite a bit of money. But, to do that you would need the tools and the skills. Looking into pre-fab options are also a good alternative, there are some pretty high-quality options out there that are also quite affordable. We are currently building a second demo house, this one in Wakefield, QC it is about the size you mention so it may be worth considering, and being nearby you could go have a look at it. It is an extremely efficient pre-fab home with dense-packed cellulose walls.

As a rule, at the very start of designing a home, you would need to first set your priorities - something has to be flexible; either the budget, the quality or the size. If you are firm about the performance and you can’t go over 200k, then you need to be flexible with the size. And if you’re firm about the quality and size, then the budget would need to be flexible.

We also do consulting by the hour (as much as or as little as you need), so drop me a line if you like, mike@ecohome.net and I may be able help.


Jenn Bisson July 17, 2019, 6:21 p.m. Reply

Thanks for the info! We will definitely read up on those links and check out the Wakefield project next time we’re in the neighbourhood! I think for us budget is the only thing we can’t wiggle as much with - the rest we’ll just do our best and know that there will be plenty of sacrifices along the way (we’ll try to be smart with where we invest in efficient materials - maybe splurge on insulation and windows as be more scrappy with the rest, and we’ll get some friends on board to help ease some labour costs when and where possible ) . We’ll have to do more research to see if a composting toilet is more likely to Save money (by not getting a septic system) or be a bigger financial investment than traditional waste disposal, and things like that. We may give you a shout once we read all those links and get better informed about what’s possible and what’s naive dreaming :)

thank you again!! I’m so glad this site exists!