In the summer of 2004, SOS Design opened the door to its new “storefront” office in Vic West, demonstrating a commitment to responsible design by incorporating many green building techniques.

This particular project faced restrictions relating to small lot subdivision. Therefore, every effort was made to create a feeling of spaciousness, enhanced by an abundance of natural light within a very small building envelope.

By blasting rock on the site, we were able to create an 800 square foot office space which is entered at street level, keeping the private entrance tucked away at the back of the house, one level up. To help offset our small lot, we developed a roof deck which has views over the harbour to the Olympic Mountains beyond.

westrock snapshot

Selection of Materials

  • majority of products and materials come from local suppliers and manufacturers (within 5 km)
  • fir for doors, windows & floors sourced from Vancouver Island
  • formaldehyde-free insulation
  • low VOC paint and floor finishes
  • wool carpet (area rugs)
  • low flow fixtures
  • high efficiency washer/dryer (cold water intake only)
  • high efficiency dishwasher (cold water intake only, passive drying system)
  • super-insulated fiberglass hot water cylinder (Marathon)
  • recycled glass tiles
  • lighting- all fixtures are low voltage (Halogen) or compact fluorescent
  • reclaimed timber for stair treads
  • engineered lumber (PSL beams, I-joists)
  • recycled plastic decking material from local manufacturer

Methods of Construction

  • re-useable concrete formwork (rented for this project)
  • insulation beneath slab-on-grade and along side of footings
  • Xypex additive in concrete (for waterproofing)
  • garden walls & landscape features formed from blasted rock on site
  • excess rock was taken by a construction site less than 1km away
  • permeable paving on driveway (Grass Pavers)
  • humidity controlled fresh air intakes in every room
  • in floor radiant heat (improved indoor air quality, lower temperature)
  • the house was engineered to resist serious seismic events

To be completed

  • intensive green roof c/w lightweight growing medium and sedum carpet
  • wind turbine
  • solar panels