The ONBC is a member based advocacy group of designers, builders & homeowners working to promote healthy, high performance natural building strategies in the construction industry.
The Ontario Natural Building Coalition was founded in 2003 under the name, Ontario Straw Bale Building Coalition. In 2013, the organization decided to change its name to the ONBC to reflect the growth of natural building in Ontario and to capture the wider scope of materials that were being used by our members.
We believe that all housing should be healthy, sustainable, inspiring and resilient.
We promote the use of natural, non-toxic materials that can dramatically reduce our carbon footprint while achieving high levels of energy efficiency.
We support our community of building professionals and homeowners in the positive transformation of our built environment.
We foster the exchange of ideas, innovation, resources, and social opportunities across Ontario.
Meet the Board of Directors
Photo left to right: Winter Harbinson, Cheryl Keetch (Coordinator), Claire Beach, Jen Feigin, Dave Hope, Tim Krahn, Kris Bailey.
Claire is an Architectural Designer and owner of 'Intrinsic Design Studio'. She is also a certified Nature & Forest Therapy Guide. Time in nature has always been her inspiration and motivation for designing beautiful, sustainable spaces that live in harmony with nature. Her thirst for knowledge and adventure has taken her from West Africa designing & building Adobe homes with Habitat for Humanity to Central America for a Strawbale project, to Yellowknife where she worked across northern Canada. Now back home in Ontario she is working on heritage restoration & addition projects as well as building a hempcrete cabin.
When she's not drafting or guiding walks in the woods, Claire is playing with her kids, paddling with husband Tim or digging in the garden.
Jen has been in the building world since 2005. She is a founding member of The Endeavour Centre & Builders for Climate Action and stylishly wears all kinds of hats at the organization: teacher, administrator, designer, strategist, schemer, technician, in-house foodie and big dreamer.
Having entered the trades through natural building in 2005, Jen is passionate about making this work accessible to women and leads all our women’s programming. An advocate of the sharing economy, she is the founder and leader of the Peterborough Tool Library. As a teacher, designer and builder she combines practicality and artfulness in equal measures, with a healthy dose of humour and spirit too!
Winter Harbinson has been building natural homes for 6+ years. Specializing in straw and plaster applications.
Member at large
Dave is a natural building advocate, certified carpenter and certified energy advisor. He has been involved in natural building in Southern Ontario since 2010. Exploring the world and building techniques is a passion of his that has taken him to Costa Rica, Texas, and Haiti, to learn and discover methods and processes within the natural building realm. Travel also allows him to exercise a dusty Bachelor of Environmental Studies from the University of Waterloo. Outside of construction he enjoys the natural world, culture, music, food, craft beers, and target shooting.
MEMBER AT LARGE
Principal, Dwellings Custom Homes www.ecobuilders.ca
Dwellings is a company that builds houses using craft, integrity, good tools and our wits. Over the past six years we have had the opportunity to work on an amazing variety of projects that have served to deepen our carpentry and timber framing experience and also explore the world of natural building. The synthesis of craft, sustainability, durability, good design and the use of modern systems are what we bring together to create a house that is efficient and timeless.
We are heritage trained carpenters (by way of the Heritage Carpentry program at Algonquin College) and bring a love of architecture, sensible design, quality materials and good workmanship to every project. We work out of the Perth, Ontario area and try to stay close to home for larger scale projects such as whole houses. In a given year, we will generally work on two large scale projects (houses or additions) and a wide range of smaller scale jobs, such as timber frame entryways, pergolas, sheds, outbuildings, staircases etc.
ADAM MACKENZIE SMITH
Member at Large
Adam lives in Perth, Ontario, and works with Julian Smith and Associates Architects. Exposed to the practice of architecture from early childhood, he has been involved for years with the uses and patterns of traditional materials in existing and heritage buildings. Often ‘natural’ by default, certain traditional materials can still have significant carbon sequestering properties. There is also a mounting body of evidence underscoring the significance of using natural materials to achieve occupant wellbeing, be it through emotional support or indoor air quality. Combining these various cultural and technical factors, Adam draws significant connections between the use of traditional materials and practices, on the one hand, and a variety of contemporary needs, on the other. Based on experience working in a tropical context, Adam’s architectural work goes further in attempting to integrate the natural world by blurring, where possible, the distinctions between building and landscape.
Member at LargeAna is a licensed architect in Ontario (OAA) and Spain, and a Certified Passive House Designer (CPHD) with over 10 years of local and international experience. Ana strives to provide great architecture while specializing in sustainability.
Ana has been involved in a wide range of projects including multi-unit and single residential buildings, commercial, institutional, and interior commercial fit-out projects. Ana has recently joined The Architect Builders Collaborative (TABC) where her focus is on providing their clients with healthy, functional and affordable buildings that will meet their sustainability goals, like Net Zero, Zero Carbon or Passive House performance. Ana was the lead architect in the recent submission to the City of Kitchener's Backyard Home competition, where their submission 'GAGA: Green Accessible Granny ADU' was selected as the winning entry for the professional category.
Actively involved in the architectural community, Ana is a Board Member with the Grand Valley Society of Architects (GVSA), and has organized multiple events to promote sustainability in the construction sector by partnering with other organizations like RDH and Passive Buildings Canada.