For CABN founder and CEO Jackson Wyatt, a show home in Mallorytown, Ont. is not just a homecoming, but a launching pad for a community of prebuilt, net-zero houses in Augusta Township that is to be established in 2024.
Opened to the public in May, CABN's 752-square-foot, one-bedroom show home is a starting point toward a 67-unit community. It also allows the company to track how its energy-informed design holds up across Canada.
But as Wyatt told SustainableBiz, “The simplest (answer) first, was I’m actually originally from that area.”
At his old Eastern Ontario stomping grounds, he says the response has been very positive with a growing waitlist of hundreds of interested buyers. It's a good sign for a company that hopes soon to be operating from the northernmost regions of Canada to across the U.S.
The Augusta Township show home
Wyatt’s personal connection isn't the only reason CABN installed its show home in Mallorytown. It lets the company test its energy-informed design, is close to its manufacturing site in Brockville, and allows it to start its first proposals with the government for capital projects like the 67-unit community.
The company offers four models of prefabricated homes ranging in size from one to four bedrooms. They can be delivered in a kit, assembled on site in days and prepared for move-in within weeks.
The use of cross-laminated timber reduces waste and construction timelines to enhance sustainability, as do helical piles as a replacement for concrete foundations, electrical systems, energy-efficient appliances and solar arrays.
In a previous conversation with SustainableBiz, CABN claimed its houses consume 63 per cent less energy on average than a baseline home built around Passive House standards, according to Kingston, Ont.-based QSBR Innovations Inc., and cut heating consumption by 89 per cent compared to a baseline home that uses 125 kilowatt-hours per square metre per year for heating.
“We like to focus on the attainability aspect. The goal with CABN is to make sustainable, net-positive homes attainable for more people,” Wyatt said.
This means extending a net-zero home option to people across Canada with different economic conditions who cannot all afford a multimillion-dollar Passive House-designed home.
The response has been “phenomenal,” Wyatt said, with visitors impressed by the larger-than-anticipated size. Some guests have said they wanted the one-bedroom unit, while others had their curiosity piqued for CABN's larger offerings.
In the past few weeks, he said the wait list has grown to triple digits and is growing every day because of the excitement around the style, the sustainability and rapid construction.
Locals have made up most of the visitors, and CABN is not aiming for one specific demographic. Those interested in downsizing for essential living and millennials looking for an opportunity to own land have been the most common groups visiting the show home, Wyatt added.
Progressing to its community
All of this builds toward CABN’s goal of a 67-unit community in Augusta Township, with whom CABN is in consultations.
Wyatt highlighted how the community will mix the company’s four models. They will be arranged in a cluster formation of five to eight buildings to optimize solar generation and create a community around a central garden.
Development will focus on the two-, three- and four-bedroom units with the one-bedroom unit used primarily as an additional residential space.
Wyatt said CABN is on track for units to be installed in 2024 and its production, scheduling and manufacturing is also moving at a good pace. He is optimistic about progress with environmental agencies, the municipality itself and the government to address problems like waste and water strategies through biomimicry to minimize environmental impact and red tape.
CABN has sold six units as part of strategic marketing strategy, has over 5,000 people on a broad interest list and over 180 people on its buyer waitlist. It is hoping to make deliveries starting in spring 2024.
The company has solidified its first year of customers across North America and is hoping to soon have satellite show homes to demonstrate its offerings in Canada and the U.S.
Wyatt also previously told SustainableBiz there are plans to pursue a pre-seed fundraise related to strategic relationships and a larger strategic raise coordinated with its show home launch.