Circa’s Green Building Practices

It’s much harder to build something that lasts a long time, functions really, really well, and doesn’t fail than it is to add a few plants on a roof or install LED lighting. Our buildings are quietly green.

Let’s be honest not everything is built to last. Circa is grounded in old world values, nostalgic for times when things were built to be less disposable and a lovely patina was appreciated. We take our inspiration from a tastefully renovated Victorian home not today’s cookie-cutter new build.  Our city’s explosion of commodity condos that are made of cheap, imported “faux” finishes  and slapped together by the lowest bidder will simply not stand the test of time. The buildings we work with may already be 100 years old but they’re made of real brick, not veneer. Renovated properly, they are strong enough to take an extra story today and easily last 100 more. Our buildings are green not only because they’re repurposed, but because no part of it is headed for a landfill any time soon.

We’re also pretty compulsive about details that add up. Ask anyone who’s ever lived on radiant floors if they could ever go back to a furnace. Having windows on three sides means even distribution of both temperature and light. And good ventilation will prevent the need open them.   

Aside from the brick structure built by craftsmen of a bygone era, we like to use the time tested virtue or our greatest renewable resource – wood.  Our projects have featured geothermal heating and cooling systems. Green roofs. Grey water recovery systems. Once we even insulated a building so well it was basically heated just by the kids running around in it. We partnered with CMHC and the Sustainable Housing Foundation, and built the project that established best practices for existing multi-unit residential buildings.

All of these experiences have led us to believe that the greenest practice of all is to build something that simply functions really well and lasts a very long time. 

We also save landfills from filling with a lot of crap product, whether it’s cheap kitchen cabinets, laminate floors, or hollow doors. Typical condo doors, for instance, are basically made of sawdust and glue, comprised of ¼ inch boards stuck together and painted. Our doors are 1¾ inches thick and made entirely of wood. The cost difference is triple and completely worth it. When you have a sleeping child behind her wooden bedroom door, you can actually have a conversation and a glass of wine in the next room without waking her up. These are the kinds of things that we think about so that your home is efficient, practical, durable, and long-lasting.