Absolute Sustainability: Diamond Head Development Embarks on First Legacy Project
Nestled in the coastal mountains, where the glacial-silted waters of Squamish River meet the Pacific Ocean, is one of the most spectacular places in British Columbia. Squamish has earned its reputation as the “Outdoor Recreation Capital of Canada” attracting visitors from around the world with its eco-tourism offerings, while providing the backdrop for a number of media works, and drawing many notable residents.
The Squamish Nation band government controls lands in the Squamish territory and among those residing in Squamish, there is a belief in all pillars of sustainability—environmental responsibility, social equity, economic health, and cultural vitality. The District of Squamish is currently focused on sustainable development and has a renewed emphasis on education. One local business of particular note is Diamond Head Development, whose most recent project, Skyridge, aligns with the key tenants of sustainability, the strategic priority areas of the District of Squamish, and the company’s commitment to the environment.
Careful planning and deliberation went into the development plan to ensure the creation of an inclusive, environmentally responsible neighbourhood, with dedicated park space and access to amenities.
To encourage the development of an inclusive community, a broad mix of housing types is in the plan, intended to attract a range of residents and address the various housing needs of the community. The mix of single family homes, duplexes, townhomes, and condominiums will be certified through Built Green Canada—a national organization that sustainably-minded residential builders work with. This project is the largest ever BUILT GREEN® certified multi-family development in Squamish.
Built Green’s certification takes a holistic approach to sustainability to address energy efficiency, materials and methods, indoor air quality, ventilation, waste management, water conservation, and business practices. The certification includes two vital components: an EnerGuide label and a Built Green seal. For those homebuyers purchasing a duplex or townhouse, their home will be built to a Gold level certification and an upgrade to Platinum will be available for both of these housing types.
Key benefits of a sustainably built home include savings in operating costs, mortgage loan insurance rebates, fewer fix-its due to improved durability, and an increase in market and resale value of close to 10 per cent. These homes are also more comfortable and offer a healthier environment, all of which contribute to the homeowners’ quality of life. Even home cleaning is addressed through air quality—with improved ventilation, airborne particles are better filtered out, including dust and allergens.
“We really wanted to encourage housing diversity, while concentrating on the environmental impact from the 10,000 foot view,” says Diamond Head Development’s founder and general manager Jason Wood. “For us, this meant minimizing our environmental impact, encouraging an inclusive community, and facilitating economic benefit for everyone involved—including the homebuyers.”
The Diamond Head team took sustainability a step further by prioritizing the cultural vitality of the community. First, they ensured the allocation of dedicated park space in the community with connections to surrounding trail systems and future plans to connect to the popular Jack’s Trail. The trail systems contribute to a more walkable community and more active lifestyles. Second, the team partnered with Squamish Montessori Society to build the Squamish Montessori Elementary School and Daycare. The Montessori philosophy of providing children with a global understanding of their place in their world is fitting for a community focused on inclusivity and environmental stewardship. The announcement of this marks the beginning of a legacy project for the district and reinforces the value Diamond Head and Squamish place on education—for Diamond Head, this will be the first in a series of legacy projects. Third, they donated $500,000 to the District of Squamish for Skyridge reflecting their commitment and belief in the development of this community.
Diamond Head Development has been constructing environmentally-friendly homes in the Sea to Sky corridor for over a decade. There are many measures of sustainability, and their approach to the Skyridge community reflects an integrated, fully realized commitment.