Bonny Doon, CA. (September 3, 2021) – Sebastian Little and Tonje Switzer had just replaced all the windows in their newly purchased home in the Santa Cruz Mountains before the CZU fire destroyed it in 2020. When they looked to rebuild, they wanted more than efficient windows – they wanted a super-efficient home that requires less energy, offers greater comfort, is kind to the environment, and could offer them peace of mind. They wanted a home that would suit their desire to get close to Passive House performance while getting away from poly-urethane foam insulation.
“I got a call from colleagues at Mynt Systems (Solar) who had clients looking for Passive House. I had just talked with Edie Dillman, the CEO of B.PUBLIC Prefab and their system fitted perfectly with what these people were looking for,“ said Jay Gentry, Passive House California PHCA. “I am gratified that they will have a healthy and a much better home because of those conversations.”
An ordinary site-built home may take three months to frame, wrap, and insulate. A performance home that requires air sealing, continuous insulation, and weather barrier to protect the home’s integrity may take even longer. The B.PUBLIC Prefab off-site panelized structure will allow the building envelope (shell) for Tonje and Sebastian’s new home to be installed in a matter of days instead of months.
“From our first email through design, permitting, and final installation, this project has taken six months,” said Lead Architect JD Scott. "We attribute the success of this project to the collaboration of the Santa Cruz County Recovery Permit Center, builder Ben Riordan’s attentiveness, the resilience of our clients, and B.PUBLIC's streamlined approach to design and construction with prefabricated 'building blocks.' We believe this can be the new normal for building and rebuilding in California.”
California’s housing crisis is in dire need for solutions to build faster and greener. Its newly mandated focus on solar and renewables is only a portion of what we need to fix. “When you consider that 40 percent of all pollution is caused by the construction and running of buildings, it is urgent that we change the way we build,” says chief operating officer Charlotte Lagarde. “At B.PUBLIC we tackle both sources of carbon emission by prioritizing deep energy conservation in our designs and the materials we use. The good news is that there is a carbon smart way to build craftsman comfort, low-energy, and resilient homes. It’s just a mind shift ”
B.Public’s Passive House-quality prefabricated wall, roof, and floor panels are designed to speed construction, ensure quality craftsmanship, and reduce a building’s energy consumption by up to 90% over its lifetime, while utilizing recycled and petroleum-free materials.
“Sebastian and Tonje are the perfect early adopters in the area for B.PUBLIC,” shares Jonah Stanford, co-founder and building science pioneer in the US. “Not only did they do their research and come to us with outstanding understanding and demands around building performance, but they have also been incredible advocates for rebuilding to a higher standard than what was burned by CZU.”
Word is spreading through the neighborhood network about this sustainable alternative - building beyond code and with great architectural style. A couple more families in Boulder Creek and Bonny Doon are designing and rebuilding with B.PUBLIC Prefab with the goal to move back home quickly.
“From the tragedy of so many homes lost to fire - we believe that if you are going to rebuild there needs to be heart and the environment central to the project. We are honored to help one home at a time” Edie Dillman, CEO B.PUBLIC Prefab.
"While building a home was never part of our plan or dream and we entered the process reluctantly, working with B.Public has become another step in our journey to live more sustainably through building a resilient and efficient home. We are excited to share our experience with our fellow fire families, and we hope BPublic's expertise can support many others in coming home soon," stated owners Sebastian Little and Tonje Switzer.
ABOUT B.PUBLIC Prefab:
B.PUBLIC Prefab is a construction system to radically reduce carbon footprint while maximizing comfort and low-energy performance for new construction.
B.PUBLIC Prefab is a company based on innovative design and construction tools to shift to off-site panelized components for high-performance, carbon-positive building envelopes. This Santa Fe based company works directly with consumers to provide home plans and partners with architects, builders and developers to implement higher standards of building. B.PUBLIC is a woman-owned Public Benefit Corporation with a mission to create housing and protect the environment. (www.bpublicprefab.com).
What is Passive House?
Passive House buildings are healthy, comfortable, efficient, and cost less to operate. A Passive House design can create any architectural style and any building type and provides a predictable pathway to net-zero energy and zero-carbon building. Science-based design principles and tools optimize both building performance and cost. The benefits include healthy indoor air, quiet and cozy indoor environments, greater durability and resiliency, affordability, and dramatically lower carbon emissions. https://passivehouseaccelerator.com/ Passive House Institute https://passivehouse.com/