The 2015 PNE Prize Home: Redefining Green Building and Prefabrication

Michelle Hopkins
June 4, 2015

Nestled among the Pacific National Exhibition (PNE) booths and rides, the contemporary 2015 PNE Prize Home has found its temporary resting place until it is transported to its final site in Naramata in the lush Okanagan Valley.

Since 1934, Vancouverites have anticipated the unveiling of the PNE Prize Home. But this year's home is very different, and might have many rethinking any preconceived notions they have about prefabricated construction.

Prefab homes aren’t a new idea – they have been around for decades. In fact, the modular home of yesteryear offered functional and affordable housing for many who couldn’t afford a single family home. However, this prize modular home is stylish, forward-thinking and loaded with eco-friendly features and high-tech gadgetry.

REW.cawas invited to preview the home with Kurt Goodjohn, co-founder of Karoleena, whose Okanagan modular construction company designed, manufactured and built the two-storey residence. The 3,080-square-foot West Coast-inspired home is built to LEED Gold certification and features three bedrooms, expansive floor-to-ceilings sliding doors and windows, top-of-the-line finishes, high-tech home automation and a living green roof.

“We’re honoured to have been chosen as the builder of the 2015 PNE Prize Home,” says Goodjohn. “Our goal is to improve the way people live by manufacturing and installing the most beautiful, energy efficient, and technologically advanced homes in the world. We think the Prize Home meets this goal.”

Efficient Construction Process

Karoleena's eco-friendly house looks as chic as any custom-built home, while being kind to the planet. With the reality of abundant waste going into landfills and the effects of global warming, Karoleena’s prefab homes are completed within a six-month time frame.

The Prize Home was delivered to the PNE about a month ago from its manufacturing shop in the Okanagan, including interior and exterior finishes.

“We then unwrapped them and craned them into place,” he adds.

Every Karoleena home is built indoors in a climate controlled environment, doing away with weather-dependent building delays and potential weather damage to materials. Karoleena’s prefab modular home building process allows the company to build a home in a faster, more efficient way.

“Our building process results in a reduction of construction waste by more than 7000 pounds against the US national average,” he adds. In the walls, Karoleena used the most efficient insulation material available. Goodjohn says that results in energy savings up to 40 per cent or more over conventional fiberglass or blown in insulation.

Durable and Sustainable Materials

During the tour of the home, Goodjohn points to the ceiling to display yet another first for the company.

“We have exposed the steel framing in the great room, something we haven’t done before. Steel framing is 400 per cent stronger and more durable than wood framing,” says Goodjohn, adding that steel creates minimal waste, is not affected by termites, pests, or mold, and is equal or close to wood in cost.

So that the home doesn’t feel too stark, Karoleena warmed up the space with locally sourced wood panelling on the ceilings. “We also designed the steel and wood staircase to minimize the appearance of the structure when viewed from the side, so that the space would just flow through,” Goodjohn says.

When it came to floors, the builder opted for another eco-friendly product – concrete.

“Concrete flooring is a perfect example of this synergy of beauty, sustainability and economy, giving you a durable, low-maintenance floor that will last the life of your home,” says Goodjohn.

The concrete floors, when left exposed, conserve resources by working both as the foundation and finished floor. In addition to conserving materials, concrete flooring offers many other environmental benefits, such as contributing to better energy efficiency and improving indoor air quality.

Green on Many Levels

Throughout the home, the cabinetry is FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified, environmentally friendly wood – meaning the wood came from a sustainably managed forest.

The upstairs floor is dedicated to an expansive master bedroom retreat, complete with a wrap around deck that features an engineered 500-square-foot green roof. The decking itself is made out of composite products and is slightly sloped for drainage.

“The composite decking offers the beauty of wood without the maintenance,” he adds. “It holds up to our rainy weather and doesn’t expand or contract.”

A Tech Geek’s Dream

Tech geeks will appreciate the Elan Home Systems automation system, which includes a touchpad, device-controlled thermostat, security system and audio/visual entertainment unit.

“You can control lighting, heating and cooling, as well as have different music in every room of the house,” says Goodjohn. “You can also plug in your Apple iTunes or Blu-ray movies. You can also manage the system on your smartphone or tablet from virtually anywhere in the world.”

He went on to say that this house is the most technologically advanced home the company has ever built. “This is a stepping block to our future in home automation,” he says.

At the end of 2015 Fair at the PNE, the Karoleena home will return to the Okanagan and be relocated on the waterfront in Naramata for the lucky winner to enjoy.

To enter the 2015 PNE Prize Home Lottery for a chance to win this home, click here. The draw takes place September 10.

For more information about Karoleena Homes, visit

Michelle Hopkins
Michelle Hopkins is a Vancouver-based freelance writer with extensive magazine, newspaper and online writing experience in home décor, new home developments, culinary adventures, wine, travel and more. Michelle writes for many notable publications including Real Estate Weekly and other Glacier Media Group publications, Western Living Magazine, Vancouver Magazine, Home Décor & Renovations, to name just a few. Michelle is passionate about anything to do with real estate.