Sparwood homebuilder makes energy efficiency a priority

Jason Szykulski, a Sparwood-based builder, is gaining a reputation for building energy efficient homes.

Jason and Isabelle Szykulski

Energy efficiency is always on the top of mind for Jason Szykulski. The Sparwood-based builder is gaining a reputation for building energy efficient homes, which he believes is high importance for long lasting homes.

“We don’t want to build homes that five years or 10 years down the road somebody unaware comes and buys a home, and all of a sudden they have water in their basement or something bad happens,” said Szykulski. “That is why we don’t take any chances. We overbuild as much as we can.”

Szykulski owns and operates Tailor Built Solutions and put his product to the test by building his own home last year. He started construction in July 2014 and moved in last March. He is working on a second home for a client, located blocks away from his home in Sparwood.

“I know exactly every nail and bolt in this house and in the new house we are building,” he said.

For Szykulski, building energy efficient homes is a priority because he feels it makes for a better home. He works with just one other employee to make the most energy efficient homes he can.

“Based on what is out there, and with our Energy Advisor Ray Smith, we have built it so that it’s very air tight, very air tight and very high end air exchange and good insulation. Those are the three ingredients you need and if you don’t have one of them put in properly, you have issues,” he said, regarding his own home. “For me, speed and building a house, they don’t go together. You’re building a house, and you are spending a lot of money. I want a craftsman to do that work.”

Syzkulski and his wife Isabelle became new parents last month, which has also had an impact on his work and why he values energy efficiency.

“Look at the world, we need to change the way that we our building for our kids. I want the homes that we are building to be not so carbon producing,” he said. “We just want to build a better home. We want to set ourselves apart a little bit and that is how we are going to do it.”

Szykulski has garnered a reputation for his business. The District of Sparwood has incentives for residents who build energy efficient homes, sticking to EnerGuide regulations. The District has been supportive in Szykulski’s business, as they are to all builders, offering incentives and rewards to build more energy efficient homes.

“The B.C. Building Code is changing. It’s changing a lot, and if you’re not aware of the new codes and the changes and ways and materials, you’re building it the old way. You have to be at those seminars and you have to learn those new styles and codes in order to build a home that is energy efficient and comfortable,” said Szykulski.

Tailor Built Solutions is a member of EnergyStar, which is a service that offers energy advisors. They will test a home at various stages throughout the building process to ensure it is within an energy efficient target.

“What happens is he comes and actually tests out homes. When we hand a house over to a client, it’s like buying a car – you get a full performance review,” he said. “He can give you a full breakdown on how much it’s going to cost you annually, how much energy you are saving, all of those types of results.”

Tailor Built Solutions will be finished their next home by the end of February. Scott Gilbert, who owns the new home, said Szykulski’s values were a factor when he picked him as a contractor.

“I met him over a year ago, but I watched him build his house and saw his building techniques and how he has watched out for energy efficiency. It just seemed like a good fit,” said Gilbert.

Szykulski, originally from Minnesota, has been building homes for roughly three decades. After moving to Montana in 2000, he was drawn north and settled in Sparwood.

“The beautiful Canadian mountains brought me here,” he said. I’m a sledder. We really enjoy living in the mountains and the outdoor life here. We are never going to leave. I’m not a city guy – I’m a mountain guy.”

Building homes in the mountains is exactly what Jason and Isabelle Szykulski want to do, and apparently, they are doing it rather well.