theDoighouse Learning Center

Our goal is to grow and support a community for intentional building.  Our latest blog.  

TheDoighouse Earthship is currently under construction with the help and support of many volunteers both local and international.

You don’t have to wait for the learning centre indoor space to be completed before visiting, volunteering, participating in a tour or attending a class.

As our guest, your health and well being and that of all our friends, learners, volunteers and guests at theDoighouse Learning Centre is always our top priority.  Covid-19 guidelines are in place, and updated regularly to meet Dr Bonnie Henry’s advisories.  Visitors and guests need to preregister prior to visiting.  Email thedoighouse@gmail.com to arrange your personalized tour or visit.

Once completed theDoighouse Earthship indoor classroom will be used as an learning space for sustainability, intentional building, food security and other related topics. Adjacent to the classroom is an outdoor learning space. Four ‘sleeping pods’ will provide a place for volunteers, guests and learners to stay.

Approximately an acre is already dedicated to our community gardens based on Permaculture Principles, and over time will grow into a food forest of fruit and nut trees, berries and other edibles. Included in the gardens will be 23 community garden boxes; available for rent for $25/year.

We host a monthly fireside@theDoighouse chat to connect professional builders, enthusiasts and individuals curious and/or passionate about natural building.  You are welcome to attend!  We meet the 2nd  Wednesday of each month.  The 2021 series begins on February 10th.  Participation is by donation with tickets available on Eventbrite. 

If you’re unable to donate for whatever reasons, please contact Susan at thedoighouse@gmail.com and she will provide you with a ticket.

theDoighouse Earthship

The base ‘Waybee‘ plans were designed by Michael Reynolds and have been modified for a BC Coastal rain forest climate; earthquake, with snow load and humidity some key considerations that have impacted the final design.

We have an amazing team of professionals working with us.  Our BC architect is Keith Tatlow of Kilo Architecture. Our structural engineer is Mark Fleischhaker, @Metaphystations. Drafting by Daniel Oretgon of Nulane Design & Build.

On July 20, 2018 the  Regional District of Nanaimo (RDN) issued a building permit for theDoighouse – the first ‘Earthship inspired’ home in the RDN (and we believe in BC) to meet the 2012 BC Building Code and the new Canadian National Energy Code. The Earthship performance has been extensively modeled for energy efficiency.  theDoighouse will be build to ensure ongoing monitoring of energy consumption.  Our goal is to surpass step 5 of the BC Energy Step Code.

the Doigs

Bentley on patioTony (my husband) and I (Susan) are passionate about sustainability. Together we have four children, and Bentley our standard poodle. With our children grown and no longer living at home we are looking forward to the next phase of our lives… Retirement with Grandchildren!

On October 31st 2017 Susan retired from her post-secondary career with Capilano University and began full time work on the project.  Her career at CapU focused on facilities management, sustainability, energy management and community engagement. These knowledge, skills and abilities will be put to good use at theDoighouse Farm and Learning Centre.

In Jan 2018 Tony successfully passed the BC Owner/Builder exam.  One of the (many) final steps to getting a building permit in place for our build.

Tony retired May 2018; all the researching and learning to build an off/on grid home on Vancouver Island we’ve been doing since 2007 will culminate in the building of our Earthship.

2 thoughts on “Welcome”

  1. Hey guys!

    I’m Mat, from Montreal, and I just saw your project on ThePoosh.org for a earthship inspired home this summer.

    I am wondering how this volunteer aplication works, I would possibly be interested in giving a helping hand! I have been involved in a earthship workshop in New Zealand a year ago, and I have a college diploma in architecture, with nearly 3 years of experience working in the field.

    I am thinking of doing my way to the great West this spring, and looking for builds I can assist!
    I have been also looking at some education programs at O.U.R. ecovillage, on Vancouver island… in the begining of may, but would also be keen to volunteer and help build a off-grid home!

    Shoot me a message on more information, if there are any spots left 🙂

    Hope to hear from you soon,

    Mat Boisvert

    1. Hi Matt
      Great to hear from you.

      We are taking applications for the month of July – our focus will be the foundation and tire walls. Do you have a resume/cv that you would send? If you are interested in helping prepare the land for the build, we may be able to accommodate that in June. We have an onsite sawmill – we are milling the logs for the framing of the earthship south wall.


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theDoighouse radically sustainable, 'Earthship' inspired, off grid home, food forest and Learning Centre on Vancouver Island, BC