Collaborative design process at Round Prairie Elders’ Lodge started with the Elders
May 25, 2021
The creation of the Round Prairie Elders’ Lodge was a collaborative process through and through, says Jason Surkan with David T. Fortin Architect Inc. (DTFA), and it started with the Elders who might live there.“We had community engagement sessions with elders to ensure their visions and hopes and dreams were captured in this project,” Surkan said. “Hopefully what we brought forward in terms of the architecture of the building is their vision brought into reality.”
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Designing with culture in mind: Building a home for Métis Elders
May 11, 2021
Architect David Fortin wanted to ensure there was outdoor space when designing the Round Prairie Elders' Lodge, a multi-unit residential building for Métis Elders from the Central Urban Métis Federation Inc. (CUMFI). Fortin said the Lodge will honour the culture and the Elders living there.
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Answering the call from Elders in need: CUMFI building supports Métis people
April 23, 2021
Central Urban Métis Federation Inc. (CUMFI) identified years ago that there was a need in Saskatoon for culturally appropriate housing, says President Shirley Isbister. There were gaps in the availability of affordable, safe homes and in the cultural component of housing, where it’s administered by an Indigenous organization for Indigenous people, she said. Round Prairie Elders’ Lodge, a multi-unit residential building for Elders, was also born out of listening to the community.
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Bulldozing archaic construction methods: The modular process and its benefits
April 13, 2021
It’s all about people. Modular construction has a variety of benefits throughout the building process, but Nick Sackville with Big Block Construction says its most important benefit is that it has a positive community impact.
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Energy monitoring gives renters, builders the power to lower their environmental footprint
March 16, 2021
At the Net Zero Ready units at Willowview Heights in Saskatoon, renters will be able to visit a website that will let them see energy trends in their home. The data will be available in real time, and as historical data that can be referenced daily, weekly, monthly, or quarterly, giving direct feedback on the occupant's energy usage.
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Willowview Heights heads into Phase 3 of Net Zero research program: Analyzing
February 24, 2021
The National Affordable Housing Corporation's Willowview Heights project is one of only six buildings that are part of a special research program happening in Canada right now. Now Big Block is the first of the builders in the program to have completed the second stage, building the project.
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CMHC relies on local partnerships to meet housing, sustainability goals
January 20, 2021
The Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) has set a goal of ensuring that everyone in Canada has access to a home that not only meets their needs but is also affordable for their lifestyle — meaning that the cost of their housing doesn’t exceed 30 per cent of their before-tax income. CMHC has partnered with Big Block Construction in our Willowview Heights project, a Net Zero Ready multi-unit residential building located in Saskatoon. 
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Measuring success: Using the blower door test for Net Zero standards
January 20, 2021
Throughout the construction of any residential building, there are a number of quality assurance tests that need to be done in order to achieve the Net Zero standard. One such of these tests is a blower door test — which Big Block had Sun Ridge Residential conduct for Willowview Heights. Willowview Heights’ ACH clocked in at 0.5 ACH — exceeding the requirements for a Net Zero build by 75%.
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Looking back at 2020: Willowview Heights from start to finish
December 27, 2020
This year has been a long and strange one due to the pandemic, but at Big Block, we were lucky enough to be able to continue our work consulting and building housing for purpose-driven companies. Our big project in 2020 was Willowview Heights in the Willowgrove neighbourhood of Saskatoon, one of the province’s first Net Zero Ready multi-unit residential buildings, and we documented the project along the way.
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How natural gas is a natural fit for Net Zero
November 3, 2020
One might believe that a Net Zero rating comes at the exclusion of traditional energy sources or that the goal of all green initiatives is to completely cease use of non-renewable energy — but this is not the case at Willowview Heights. Big Block Construction has partnered with SaskEnergy in order to provide residents with reliable heating through Saskatchewan’s cold winters while still maintaining a focus on responsible energy use. 
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