Simple Life Homes is a company that is consistently exploring new technologies, new models, and new iterations to remain at the cutting edge of high-performance building. Founded in 2012, Simple Life started as a general contracting company specializing in sustainable housing. Seeing the opportunity to better deliver on their values and serve their clients, Jeremy Clarke, the founder of Simple life, steered the company toward manufacturing panels in 2017. The panels are constructed with exclusively low-embodied carbon materials—wood, dense-packed cellulose, and wood-fiber insulation—in keeping with the firm’s emphasis
The firm’s client base was initially a small niche of individuals who wanted an environmentally beneficial home and didn’t necessarily have the budget for custom work—and were building within spitting distance of Simple Life’s home base of Cobourg, which sits an hour east of Toronto on the northern shores of Lake Ontario. However, the company has grown as word has spread about the quality of its offerings. In the last couple of years Simple Life has worked on projects in Quebec, Manitoba, Nova Scotia, as well as Ontario, and is beginning to ship its products to the United States. Simple Life is also expanding into the multifamily market, though most of its homes continue to be either single-family dwellings or duplexes.
About 15% to 25% of the homes the company produces are designed in-house, and Clarke relies on Cadwork software to digitize plans and create the shop drawings needed for the prefabrication process. For out-of-house designers Clarke stresses the importance of initiating communication early in the design process. “Being involved as early as possible allows for fewer steps backwards,” he notes.
For project installations Clarke has developed a hybrid model. In some cases, the entire project is performed by or overseen by Simple Life employees. In others, it is performed by a contractor who has been trained by the company. “We are trying to encourage that scenario, because the more people who understand how to install our panels, the better,” he points out.
Though Simple Life continues to evolve, what has not changed is the dedication to high-performance building practices and low embodied carbon. All of its homes meet 1.0 ACH50 and most hit 0.6 or less. Clarke says many of his clients are more inclined to ask for a “pretty good house” rather than a Passive House and are seeking sustainability above all. “A major selling point for our clients has been our commitment to reducing embodied carbon. That is one of our top priorities,” notes Clarke.