Sooke Ecohome Tour

Announcing our 3rd Ecohome Tour 

Sat. October 6, 2018.

Details to come 🙂 


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TICKETS at the Stick in the Mud Cafe in downtown Sooke from 10 am to 2 pm. Or pick them up from our hosts (circled locations) directly during tour hours, 11 am to 3 pm.  Prices: $5 per person/$10 per carload/free to pedestrians and cyclists. All participants will be asked to sign an insurance waiver. Thank you and ENJOY! 

Discover how trend-setting neighbours in the Sooke region are tapping into nature’s energy grid, modernizing time-honoured natural building techniques and finding creative ways to minimize their environmental impacts while saving money in the bargain.

The second Sooke Ecohome* Tour on Saturday, Oct. 14 offers six examples of how the renewable energy revolution is taking root in the region. Three homes are in Sooke, three in East Sooke. Nice-priced tickets ($5 per person/$10 per carload) will be available on event day *only* at the Stick in the Mud Coffeehouse (corner of Eustace and Otter Point roads in downtown Sooke) and at each of our participating venues.

Our 2017 tour stops from east-to-west:

* “The Harmless Home,” a Net Zero family residence with panoramic Juan de Fuca ocean views now being constructed by Sooke’s Ridgeco Developments. Exterior walls are the first to utilize interlocking Just BioFiber blocks; manufactured in Calgary, they’re stronger than steel, do not burn, require no vapour barrier and have an insulation value estimated at R60. Once complete, the home will have 16kW of solar panels, Tesla Powerwall back-up batteries, a level-2 septic system and an extensive rainwater collection system to augment the on-site well. 5200 East Sooke RoadHost: Arno Keinonen with guests: Ridgeco’s Frank McKendry, Just BioFiber’s Michael DuChamplain and sustainability planner/green building designer Jack Anderson from the Nanaimo area firm Greenplan. (Shuttle vehicle service to site. Please park carefully on the verge of East Sooke Rd. just east of Becher Bay Rd. ) 

* The Rainbird Econest, an in-progress, off-grid home near East Sooke Provincial Park’s Aylard Farm. Timbers and much of the lumber was milled onsite. Clay was sourced from Sooke, straw from Saanich. The home is an EcoNest Peregrine design with a timber frame interior and exterior walls of light straw-clay. The home incorporates a Faswall (recycled pallet based) foundation, passive solar design, a masonry heater, heat exchange water heater, earthen floors, rain water collection and grey water irrigation, along with many other elements to reduce the use of fossil fuels and the impact on the land and to create a healthy living environment.  Chart the project’s progress on its Facebook group page. 310 Becher Bay RoadHosts: Shyanne Smith and family. Scheduled talk at 2 p.m. with Keary Conwright from Sooke’s KC Natural Homes. (Parking directions on site; steep driveway or park in the farm lot at the base of the property)

* A 238-sq ft  East Sooke tiny house temple built this year on a rural property off Kangaroo Road as a meditation retreat and working space for Vibeke Vaerum and Michael Cruickshanks, a pair of professional health practitioners. Wood frame construction with almost entirely wood finishings features no drywall or paint for health, environmental and aesthetic reasons. Rainwater havesting and composting systems on site. 1635 Selborne Drive.  Hosts: Vibeke, Michael and builder/designer Forest Adam from Homes With LoveAccess either via Kangaroo Road (turn at Barrow, then La Bonne to Selborne) or Rocky Point Road (Liberty, then left on La Bonne).  Park in the cul-de-sac at the very end of Selborne just past the Sooke Hanger sign.

* A town centre Sooke home with 14 solar panels (300w photovoltaic) installed by Viridian Energy Co-operative that have lowered the home’s annually averaged hydro bill to a current $56/month; the panels also power a 30 amp EV charger for a 2017 Nissan Leaf.  Other features: A solar hot water system preheats city water before it gets to the electric water heater; and a beer-can furnace warms the building’s crawl space. 2098 Solent Road North. Hosts: Gord Fulcher and Lis Johansen with Viridian’s Steve Unger. 

Plus two homes back by popular demand from last year’s tour …

* A solar-powered west-end Sooke residence featuring a diverse permaculture oasis of annuals and perennials, a diverse food garden (lemon tree and banana plant included) and a supporting infrastructure that includes rainwater catchment, grey water irrigation, water filtration and a team of industrious worker chickens. Displays of composters and a composting toilet. 2179 Henlyn DriveHosts: Stephen and Lee Hindrichs with Virdian Energy Manager Kuan Jian Foo and, representing Sun-Mar Canada, the Hindrichs’ Henlyn Rd. neighbour Brian MacNeill. 

* A thoroughly modern farmstead in a bucolic Otter Point setting. Highlights include thermal mass interior walls and roof-mounted solar vacuum tubes powering the radiant in-floor hot water system. 2358 Kemp Lake RoadHosts: Christine Bossi, Martin Bissig and family. Builder Keary Conwright will be on site for a talk at 11:30 am. Bonus: Enjoy a cup of Herbal Tea Station licorice mint tea, harvested and prepared by Martin on site with a solar drying station.

Note: Organizers are seeking one more Sooke home to add to the tour. Might it be yours?! No or expensive features required! If you’re an exemplar of household e-smarts — i.e., weatherproofed doors and windows, water-heater blankets, energy efficient appliances, LED lighting, perhaps a wood-pellet stove, etc. — and are happy to welcome drop-in visitors, please let us know no later than Tues., Oct. 3 via email to  We’ll assign a volunteer to help out. Our goal: To demonstrate that proven, low-or-no-cost everyday initiatives like your own are the starting point for everyone’s energy conservation gameplan.

* According to our loose definition, an ecohome (new or retrofit) uses building techniques and/or technology to create energy savings and a substantially lower carbon footprint in both construction and ongoing operation. Insulation and airtightness, passive solar orientation, thermal mass building materials, renewable energy sources (solar, heat pump, biomass), rainwater harvesting, greywater collection and recycled building materials are considerations. 

More details: Jeff Bateman @ 250.642.2056;

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The act we’re following …

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Update: Thank you all! Despite heavy rains in the morning, the day cleared and we welcomed more than 150 attendees from all parts of the south Island, the Cowichan Valley and even a few visitors from Vancouver. A great day! We’ll be back next year. 

The first Sooke Ecohome Tour offers seven examples of how the renewable energy revolution is taking root right here in the region.

Tour stops include the super-efficient Harbourside Cohousing on the Sooke waterfront; the cob cottage at lovely ALM Organic Farm; a rammed-earth home in Otter Point under construction by Earth House Holdings; a newly built tiny home made largely from found and recycled materials; and a trio of private residences — two with solar arrays installed by Viridian Energy Co-operative and a third constructed of natural materials by Keary Conwright Natural Homes.

Click here for further details on our tour venues.

Get practical ideas on how to retrofit your home for immediate energy efficiency improvements while exploring what’s possible atop and under your own roof in the future.

Meet with the homeowners and their special guests as you investigate natural building construction, rooftop solar, rainwater catchment systems, grey water irrigation, radiant in-floor systems, heat pumps, permaculture gardens and outdoor solar cookers.

Your hosts will include a local farming legend, two former Red Cross International aid workers and their kids, a barista extraordinaire, an intentional wellness specialist and her airline pilot husband, a wildcrafter residing with his family in a newly constructed tiny home, and the members of one of Canada’s most celebrated cohousing ventures.

Tickets will be available only on the morning and early afternoon of event day, Oct. 8th, at the Stick in the Mud Cafe, on Eustace and Otter Point roads in the heart of Sooke starting at 9:30 a.m.

Ticket prices: $5 per individual; $10 per carload (car pooling encouraged!); free to pedestrians and cyclists. 

The Sooke Ecohome Tour is sponsored by the Real Estate Foundation of BC with additional funding support from BC Hydro and the District of Sooke. Our thanks to all.