mandala custom homes - climate change

Ever-increasing temperatures mean more frequent wildfires and other severe weather events. Climate change impacts how you cool, heat, and protect your home.

And the choices we make have an impact on the environment and doing what we can to help in the fight against climate change.

Recent years have seen record-breaking temperatures across the country, and, depending on where you live they’ve been accompanied by wildfire seasons and flooding, at rates largely unprecedented. This summer saw temperatures in parts of British Columbia hit over 46 degrees Celcius where the village of Lytton just seemed to combust and other communities were under evacuation alerts and orders as fires licked, uncontrolled, at their boundaries. In 2017 and 2018, BC’s wildfire seasons were on record as our worst. B.C.’s 2017 and 2018 wildfire seasons were the worst on record and in 2019, our national capital experienced two one-in-100 year floods in only three years.

These warmer temperatures that we’re experiencing are accompanied by more frequent extreme events and rainfall and have serious implications on how we cool, heat, and protect our homes.

As many of us have already figured out, it’s at home first where we feel we can make the smaller, incremental changes to do our part to help minimize the negative impact we have on the environment. The everyday choices we make – participating in a recycling program, composting food waste, and our choice of lightbulbs, for example. But, there are also the bigger picture choices such as the ways we choose to build and renovate our homes. Sustainable building practices that incorporate environmentally conscious approaches to heating, cooling, ventilating, and the building products used during construction.

Mandala Custom Homes – prediction and preparedness

Since our inception, Mandala Custom Homes (MCH) has understood the impact of home-building on the environment. Minimizing environmental impact has been fundamental to our building philosophy and practice from the very first home we built. And, throughout the years, MCH’s experience with the various climatic regions has honed our ability to design and engineer our homes for the climate change events that are posing increasing challenges to the world today.

Home is where we retreat to feel safest. Part of feeling safe is the ability to predict what may happen and where so that we can be, and feel, prepared. Prediction has been vital to the MCH design process to help us prepare for the future rather than being in the position of simply reacting.

Mandala Homes, inherently by design addresses the effects of our increasingly extreme weather as it maintains a consistent measure of safety and comfort. Despite extreme temperatures, high winds, heavy rains, severe snow conditions, seismic activity, and wildfires, we design and create an environment that makes a home not only safe but sustainable, beautiful, and immensely comfortable.

Let’s take a look at how MCH designs and builds homes that withstand the impacts of climate change:

Temperature extremes

MCH began building ENERGY STAR certified homes in Minnesota in 2003. What began with appliances and HVAC, evolved into our current Eco Premium design – an airtight envelope that wraps the home in a blanket of insulation that creates a very comfortable energy-efficient home. It’s a building system that prevents hot and cold from entering through the framing and limits air exchanges to as low as .52 air exchanges per hour.

We can also provide a passive solar design that allows the sun to heat the home in the colder months and shades the sun from entering through the windows in the summer.


With smoke pervading much of the air throughout the province, we all felt the effects of wildfires again this summer. Some much more profoundly than others, of course. While there is never a 100 per cent guarantee when it comes to wildfire, through extensive design and building in California where there is a strict Wildfire Code for construction, MCH has learned and incorporated the best practices for a fire-resistant home.

Two vital components we took from that experience is 1. ensure the shell has a Class A Fire rating; and 2. Install soffit venting on the roof. From a recent Harvard University study, we are also researching how to integrate roof sprinkler systems to create a moisture bubble that prevents the fire from even reaching the building.

Heavy rains

To mitigate the impact of excessive rainfall, Mandala has three levels of moisture protection:

  1. Our standard 30” roof overhang limits rain from reaching the windows, siding or the foundation.
  2. In case of heavy windblown rain, we have incorporated a built-in rain screen that vents moisture off the exterior insulation and keeps both sides of the siding dry.
  3. For extra safety, we include a continuous moisture plane that ensures that the home is always dry.

Heavy snow loads

When it comes to managing heavy snow, it’s all about the engineering of the roof system. All MCH homes have a lifetime engineer’s warrantee that the structure will hold the potential amount of snow typical to the region in which we are building.

Our low-pitched roof captures the accumulated snow which then becomes part of the home’s thermal barrier. Our 30” roof overhang prevents snow from coming up against the foundation, creating a dry wall and foundation, increasing the life of the home.

High winds

Round homes are one of the safest structures in extreme winds. The wind is able to wrap around the home as the conical roof system prevents the wind from creating negative pressure, responsible for lifting gable-styled roofs off of the structure and flattening the building.

Images from Hurricane Katrina show rectangular homes reduced to sticks, and neighbouring round homes not only standing but intact.

With the MCH airtight building envelope, there are no drafts and associated heat losses. Another advantage to a round home in high winds is that the wind doesn’t push against flat walls… it rolls right on by.

The result is a quiet and peaceful indoor environment as the wind howls outdoors.

Seismic activity

While not common in the Kootenay region of British Columbia, seismic activity – earthquakes – are a fact of life in other parts of the province and continent.

From our experience building homes on the west coast from California to Alaska, the feedback from our engineers is, because of the interconnected components of an MCH round home, it’s inherently more resistant to earthquake activity.

Our engineers improve on the Mandala Homes natural strength with engineered steel connectors at each of the connector points. This makes them able to rock and roll with the quake but return stable and whole.

Interested in exploring a climate change ready, sustainable, prefab MCH custom round home? Speak with an MCH expert to learn more!