Do you have a dream home? I definitely do, but after talking with Jim Bronzie, founder and leader of Bronzie Design + Build, it might've changed to what's called a "passive house."
Not sure what a passive house is exactly? It’s a house designed to remove the need for a HVAC system while focusing on energy efficiency. Passive homes, because of their brilliant design, are meant to outlast the ones that came before them.
And that’s Bronzie’s goal: educating clients and the public about innovative sustainability that exceeds current building code standards (while designing and building them homes).
This is what Jim had to say…
Cincinnati Refined: How did you get your start in design?
Jim Bronzie: I struggled in the beginning with carpentry. I was always drawn to the instant gratification in seeing something you built with your own hands. A lot of pride evolved from that, and I also had extremely good bosses who taught me how to do things the right way.
CR: Where do you feel you get the most inspiration for your work?
JB: When a project is challenging, it’s the most exciting to our company. Anything that is progressive-thinking in terms of architecture, that’s what we go after. Trying to be on the forefront of that ideology and philosophy of building. I’m intrigued by all types of architecture, as long as they're all done well.
CR: Your work features modern sustainability that benefits homeowners. How do you stay keen on the latest technology and trends in an industry that continues to evolve?
JB: Research, research, research. I’m all about new, innovative practices, and if a client poses an idea for an alternative way to heat a home, it’s our job to provide that for them and stay on top of that technology. It allows us to offer a better service to our clients as well as future homes. Constant learning is incredibly exciting. If we’re not learning, we’re not evolving.
CR: What challenges do you encounter?
JB: Finding labor is one of the more difficult things I see as an issue for Cincinnati versus other cities. Where is that next generation of tradesmen coming from? If young people aren’t excited to learn these skills, there won’t be anyone to continue behind us.
The emphasis of college over trade through the years has changed the opinions of younger kids, which is a huge challenge for us and the industry, in general.
CR: How do you go about making a client’s dream home a reality?
JB: Collaboration is key from the start. One of the worst things you can do is dive into a project first and figure things out afterwards. We take pride in how we communicate with our clients and always strive to do it better. Lots of folks can build or remodel your home, but it’s the time you put into talking that makes it best.
CR: How does your own home compare to those you build for your clients?
JB: You know the saying "the cobbler's children have no shoes"? That’s what my house is. I have holes in walls, dripping faucets, bathrooms I want to gut – I need to do a better job. I just enjoy other people’s homes so much more.
CR: What’s next for Bronzie Design + Build?
JB: We’re building the city’s first passive house, which has tremendous value to it in so many ways. It’s the world’s most stringent guidelines of building in terms of energy efficiency. A passive house is strictly based on the structure of the building envelope and how well you construct it. The idea is to design the home in ways to eliminate your dependency on your HVAC system – as basic as it gets. It will be the most energy efficient home ever built in this city.
Bronzie Design + Build has a sleek website that has more information about it. Check it out!