Rachel Ross (left) and Lars Chose (right) at their Six Mile home which they designed

Nelson’s Mandala hits Energy Star mark

A Nelson area home builder has created BC’s first Energy Star-qualified house.

A Nelson area home builder has created BC’s first Energy Star-qualified house.

Lars Chose, founder of Mandala Homes, designed the home with his partner Rachel Ross. Built on their property at Six Mile, the couple lives in the home and uses it as a demonstration model for Mandala.

As the name suggests, all Mandala homes are round, which Chose said makes them naturally energy efficient.

“There’s less wall space, which means less surface area to lose heat through,” Chose explained.

The main difference between his house and the 65 other Mandala homes built since the company’s inception in 1995 is the thickness of the walls. With 10 inch walls instead of the standard six inch, Chose’s house has room for much more insulation.

And every appliance in the house, as well as the heat pump, water heater and ventilation system, are all Energy Star approved. The wood stove in the living room is built from soap stone to maintain its heat for seven hours after the fire burns down.

“If it’s 20 C in here when we go to bed and turn all the heat off, it will be 19 C when we wake up in the morning,” Chose said.

EnerGuide rated the home 84 out of 100, exceeding the minimum rating of 80 required to qualify as an Energy Star home. Homes built to code are generally rated around 65, and to get into the 90s a home would need to be completely off grid.

But more than just being energy efficient, Chose and Ross agree there’s something distinctly calming about being inside the curved walls of their Mandala, with natural light flooding in through a skylight and a wall of windows offering a panoramic view from their living room as well as passive solar benefits.

“I notice the way my body moves through this house. I feel lighter and more relaxed, and definitely very creative,” Ross said. “I never thought I’d use the word empowering to describe a home, but I do truly feel empowered knowing every part of this house we designed ourself.”

While home building projects are notorious relationship-killers, Ross notes the speed in which Mandala homes can be constructed takes a lot of the stress off. She and Chose moved in last March, just five months after they poured the foundation.

“If anything, building the house brought us closer,” Ross said. “I see this home as a container for a healthy relationship and a healthy family.”

Chose and Ross will be hosting a home tour of their Mandala this Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 3234 Heddle Road in Six Mile.

All are welcome, no reservation required. In addition to showing their house, they’ll also tour their Mandala-style artist’s studio, greenhouse and carport.


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