The 20th & Highbury laneway house is a new infill mini home in Vancouver that was built by Lanefab for a couple with an interest in urban gardening. The project features rooftop gardening beds adjacent to the south-facing second floor balcony, and it integrates a 700 gallon rainwater storage tank to provide year-round rainwater for watering the property.
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In addition to irrigation, the Highbury House was pre-piped with a ‘purple pipe’ system that will allow rainwater to be used for flushing the toilet, and for use in the clothes washer. The system, which is meant to clearly distinguish rainwater from potable city water, will become legal this fall when the city of Vancouver (BC) adopts new bylaws that will reduce barriers to green building.
The small home also uses a heat pump hot water tank to provide domestic hot water and in-floor heating. The heat pump pulls energy from air that has been drawn in through a 100′ underground pipe, which modulates the air temperature year round. The cold exhaust air leaving the heat pump is then vented directly outside.
Other green features include a passive solar design, R40 hybrid walls, triple-glazed windows and doors, a heat recovery ventilator and LED lighting throughout the house. The home – designed and built by Lanefab – is 800 sf, including a single car garage, 1 br and 1 bath. It was built on a standard 33′ x122′ lot behind an existing single family home, and it is located in a walkable neighborhood close to transit and local services.
Since 2009, when the City of Vancouver passed a ‘laneway house’ bylaw, almost 800 permits have been issued for the small infill homes.