Town Talk: Building a beautiful home that meets its own energy needs

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PASSIVE ACTION: CORE Energy Recovery Solutions CEO James Dean knew all about heat exchangers and in-structure climate control when he considered building a passive house. Those Swedish/German-developed airtight buildings are energy-efficient enough to pump electrical power into a utility rather than vice-versa. But when wife Janet Allan said, “They’re all ugly,� Dean decided to go for it. By specifying huge triple-glazed windows, weighing up to 567 kg each, the BattersbyHowat Architects firm nixed the ugly designation. After installing high-tech hardware from his and other firms, Dean held a public look-see. Features included a cat door that lets chip-carrying pets in and keeps predators out. Of course, the cost of any home on West Vancouver’s Radcliffe Avenue would keep most humans out, too.

MIAOW NOW: Knowing of a West Van neighbour’s pet door, late photographer Rolly Ford’s cat would enter in the wee hours and provoke fights among many others sleeping on the homeowners’ bed. Long before the subsequent tirade of telephoned abuse ended, Ford’s feline agent provocateur would be snoozing innocently on its family-room cushion.

HEADS UP: Vancouver Aquarium development director Andrea Wright said the recent Night at The Aquarium gala raised $353,000. That will aid conservation programs, direct action, research and education. Wright and aquarium CEO John Nightingale were photographed beside an image of Abbey Road from the Beatles album that included now-Sir Ringo Starr’s gala-appropriate Octopus’s Garden. The event’s octopus-free menu included sable fish, halibut, ahi, spot prawns, scallops and a dry-land finale of beef short ribs. Diners also saw Douglas Coupland’s Vortex exhibition of ocean-retrieved plastic trash. The artist himself was at the Ottawa Art Gallery readying his National Portrait exhibition of 1,000 3D-printed heads of Canadian he’d scanned at sponsor Simons’ coast-to-coast stores.

MORE INVESTMENT: It was June, 2016 when Streetfront Alternative School teacher Trevor Stokes was asked what he needed most for students with variously problematic pasts. “Accepting that these kids are worth investing in,� he replied. Stokes himself so believed in them that, under his guidance, 50 had completed full or half marathons. Some had participated in Patagonia’s Street to Peak event or climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, and three in four graduated from high school. “He just wants the best from all of us,� one student said. So do city firefighters. At a Sandbar-catered barbecue on the school’s Britannia campus, the Vancouver Firefighter Charities’ new Sports For Kids program dedicated $17,000 for 18 students to spend a week at Indigenous-immersion Hooksum Camp. The remote facility’s outdoors sports and cultural activities will see “kids open up to the grounding experience of nature … and return healthier in body and spirit,� program assistant director Dotty Kanke said.

THE WORTHY DOZEN: Women in  Film + Television’s three-year president, Sarah Kalil, fronted the annual Spotlight Awards ceremony at Performance Works. Twelve awardees included the Teamsters 155 Woman of The Year Anita Adams. The First Weekend Club she heads has screened some 750 Canadian films since 2003. Technology lawyer Kalil was pleased that women directed 47 per cent of the National Film Board’s 2017-18 films and received 48 per cent of NFB funding. Switching media, Surrey-raised Michelle Kim wrote, produced, co-directed and starred in The Tree Inside before writing a teen-best-friends novel, Running Through Sprinklers (see Dana Gee’s Vancouver Sun review June 21). Regarding publisher Simon Schuster, “I was surprised by the American interest for a very Canadian story,� Kim said. Her tip for others: “Don’t worry about anyone else and what they think. Write it for yourself, and be sure you love it.�

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