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Leading the way

For the last three years, Naikoon Contracting has been one of the North Shore's leaders in building well insulated, energy efficient homes.

For the last three years, Naikoon Contracting has been one of the North Shore's leaders in building well insulated, energy efficient homes.

"I spent my life growing up watching my dad run the business," says Josef Geluch, who bought the business from his father and set up shop in North Vancouver three years ago.

"(We're) trying to make ourselves different from a lot of the other companies out there and focus on energy efficiency and recycling lumber," Geluch explains.

Naikoon uses insulated concrete forms to establish the skeleton of the house.

The forms are filled with concrete and reinforced with steel, an approach designed to prevent heat loss and increase sound absorption.

"The main focus is concentrating on the building envelope," Geluch says. "If you can keep that heat in the house you don't require the energy consumption to continually heat the home."

However, there can be a downside to all that insulation.

"We've built it so tight that the air would get stale," Geluch says.

The company counteracts that effect with heat recovery ventilators, known as HRV fans.

The fans usually run all day and keep the air fresh without sacrificing any heat, according to Geluch.

Besides insulation, Naikoonbuilt homes are sometimes equipped with underground storage tanks that take in rainwater. The water can then be used for an irrigation system or washing a car, all without drawing from the city's reservoir, according to Geluch.

The company's practices have won it acclaim in the building world, with award nominations from BuiltGreen B.C. and the Georgie Awards, which Geluch describes as the Oscars of home building.

"Just trying to think outside the box and build a little different or a little bit better," Geluch says of his work.

The company has also received recognition for its extensive use of reclaimed lumber.

When a large building like a school or a warehouse has a date with a wrecking ball, Geluch says they often collect the beams, refinish them, and use them for staircases or refinished floors.

"What we see of most of the other developers is they just slap something together and they don't use any focus because it does cost a little more to build it better, build it right. But we're willing to absorb that cost just to be putting a better product out on the market," he says. Geluch allows that cheaper homes still tend to sell faster than houses built to exacting environmental standards, but he's had no shortage of work recently.

"It's been really catching on here over the last few years and it seems to be on the upswing," Geluch says. "Since I opened the company in North Van we've sort of doubled our business each year."

Now with 17 employees, Naikoon is able to keep prices affordable, according to Geluch.

"We can build a house in a green way or an energy-efficient way without really increasing the costs," he says.

Naikoon will continue specializing in green homes, something that should make the founder of the company quite happy, according to Geluch.

"Dad's pretty happy and proud that it kept going," he says.