OakWood partners with Mike Holmes for client-centric high performance home initiative

Framework ensures builds and renos are energy efficient, eco-friendly, healthy and technologically enabled
John Liptak & Mike Holmes

You’ve no doubt heard about massive strides in home automation and innovation.

Solar-powered shingles that store energy in battery systems.

Geothermal heating.

Construction products with incredible insulation values that don’t leach dangerous chemicals.

IoT doorbells that alert you when a package is being delivered.

So here’s the question: How are prospective homeowners staying on top of this?

And perhaps more important, who is putting all this advancement together in a unified vision?

That’s where Ottawa-based OakWood, a custom home builder and expert renovator, and Canadian construction superstar Mike Holmes come into the picture.

The two are partnering to deliver the OakWood-Holmes High Performance Initiative, which will enable homeowners to choose tested, innovative products and materials for their renovation or custom build project – all while measuring and tracking their home’s high level of performance.

“With our new initiative, we’re encapsulating everything into a nice package,” says John Liptak, OakWood’s CEO and president.

The planning framework identifies products and technologies in four fast-evolving areas of innovation: energy efficiency, healthy living, sustainability and technology enablement. Though OakWood has been offering its High Performance Initiative since January, the new partnership integrates Holmes Approved Products and Holmes High-Performance Home Inspections into the mix.

The initiative will see homeowners directly involved with every step in the design and build process for their home, rather than just the selection of cosmetic finishes. The intent is to educate, so that homeowners can make informed decisions on what innovative products and technologies they need and how they can best use them.

“We’re going to do this backwards. We’re going to get to know you,” says Holmes. “We’re going to work and teach you – we want you to be part of this experience – then we’re going to contour the build around you.”

Both Holmes and Liptak say there is a tendency to build first and then sell homes based solely on their size or appearance.

“You can pick the eye candy afterwards, the importance of it is the function of the home,” explains Holmes.

With ever-advancing technologies in the realm of home improvement, a major concern can be finding a builder who knows how to install products or materials properly, without damaging them or voiding the manufacturer’s warranty.

“That's not something that little Joe Renovator can do,” says Liptak. “We’re looking at a company that has to have the resources and the wherewithal to present this properly.”

Once a build or reno is complete, the inspection is intended to show homeowners the capabilities of their new space, along with rating its high performance. All the details of the build are documented and included in a package with the inspection results.

On top of the enhanced comfort, health and convenience of living in an OakWood-Holmes High Performance home, Liptak and Holmes believe that their initiative will ultimately lead to high resale value.

“Everyone is going to want it,” says Holmes. “Because you have a documented package of what you used, how you did it, how it works and how it benefits absolutely everyone.”

The two construction powerhouses are launching the initiative as a pilot in Ottawa, with an eye to expand beyond the city in 2018.

OakWood is a fourth-generation family owned business based in Ottawa. It has four locations, including its Design Centre. This facility acts both as the company’s headquarters and showroom, incorporating the many components of OakWood’s high performance framework into its own design.

Liptak recently revealed plans to install a Tesla Powerwall, available in Canada under a licensing agreement exclusively through Mpower, at the Design Centre. The new technology is part of a plan to take the multi-million dollar Orleans facility off the city’s power grid.

OakWood specializes in high-performance renovations, custom homes and buildings that are beautifully designed, energy-efficient, healthy, technology-enabled and eco-friendly. Learn more at www.oakwood.ca. Or, call 613-236-8001 to book a consult at the OakWood Design Centre.

OakWood-Holmes High Performance Initiative

Energy efficiency

Keeping energy costs low is a primary concern for many Canadians. With technology for generating energy constantly evolving, it means there is a broad spectrum of options available to conscientious consumers. Among the many solutions available are solar panels, geothermal energy production and cool roofs with reflective technology.

Healthy living

More homeowners are also becoming aware of and concerned about the materials used in their renovation or new home construction. Placing an emphasis on a healthy living or work environment means incorporating healthy design elements, non-toxic building materials, and embracing proper construction and ventilation methods.


As consumers grow more conscientious of their environmental impact, technology has kept pace with the demand for more eco-friendly homes. Many informed consumers are now concerned about the materials they use in their homes and how their utility usage impacts the planet.

Technology enablement

Technology enablement refers to innovations that are embedded with software, sensors and network connectivity, giving them the ability to send and receive data. Increasingly, homeowners want options for gaining greater control over their home and automating parts of it.