Nelson’s Man­dala hits Energy Star mark

Rachel Ross (left) and Lars Chose (right) at their Six Mile home which they designed, built, has achieved a high Energy Star rat­ing.
Sam Van Schie photo

By Sam Van Schie — Nel­son Star
Pub­lished: June 14, 2012 2:00 PM

A Nel­son area home builder has cre­ated BC’s first Energy Star-qualified house.

Lars Chose, founder of Man­dala Homes, designed the home with his part­ner Rachel Ross. Built on their prop­erty at Six Mile, the cou­ple lives in the home and uses it as a demon­stra­tion model for Mandala.

As the name sug­gests, all Man­dala homes are round, which Chose said makes them nat­u­rally energy efficient.

“There’s less wall space, which means less sur­face area to lose heat through,” Chose explained.

The main dif­fer­ence between his house and the 65 other Man­dala homes built since the company’s incep­tion in 1995 is the thick­ness of the walls. With 10 inch walls instead of the stan­dard six inch, Chose’s house has room for much more insulation.

And every appli­ance in the house, as well as the heat pump, water heater and ven­ti­la­tion sys­tem, are all Energy Star approved. The wood stove in the liv­ing room is built from soap stone to main­tain its heat for seven hours after the fire burns down.

“If it’s 20 C in here when we go to bed and turn all the heat off, it will be 19 C when we wake up in the morn­ing,” Chose said.

Ener­Guide rated the home 84 out of 100, exceed­ing the min­i­mum rat­ing of 80 required to qual­ify as an Energy Star home. Homes built to code are gen­er­ally rated around 65, and to get into the 90s a home would need to be com­pletely off grid.

But more than just being energy effi­cient, Chose and Ross agree there’s some­thing dis­tinctly calm­ing about being inside the curved walls of their Man­dala, with nat­ural light flood­ing in through a sky­light and a wall of win­dows offer­ing a panoramic view from their liv­ing room as well as pas­sive solar benefits.

“I notice the way my body moves through this house. I feel lighter and more relaxed, and def­i­nitely very cre­ative,” Ross said. “I never thought I’d use the word empow­er­ing to describe a home, but I do truly feel empow­ered know­ing every part of this house we designed ourself.”

While home build­ing projects are noto­ri­ous relationship-killers, Ross notes the speed in which Man­dala homes can be con­structed takes a lot of the stress off. She and Chose moved in last March, just five months after they poured the foundation.

“If any­thing, build­ing the house brought us closer,” Ross said. “I see this home as a con­tainer for a healthy rela­tion­ship and a healthy family.”

Chose and Ross will be host­ing a home tour of their Man­dala this Sat­ur­day from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 3234 Hed­dle Road in Six Mile.

All are wel­come, no reser­va­tion required. In addi­tion to show­ing their house, they’ll also tour their Mandala-style artist’s stu­dio, green­house and carport.