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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


Interim President / Treasurer

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.


Principal, Dwellings Custom Homes

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.


Ana 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.




Jeni is the Principal Designer and owner of Jenesis Design Studio based out of Cambridge, Ontario. She has been an interior design professional for close to two decades, specializing in large scale renovations and remodel projects with an emphasis on functional space planning, cabinetry/millwork design, project management, and complete decorating services. Jeni is an Interior Design graduate of both St. Clair College of Applied Arts & Technology and Yorkville University (formerly the International Academy of Design & Technology).

Her love of natural building was ignited back in 2008 after completing a strawbale building course through Kimberly College of the Rockies, in Kimberly, B.C.  She has continued her education in the area of material health (The New School, Parsons School of Design) and is a member of the Build Outside the Box Masterminds Community to further her knowledge in natural building techniques used internationally.

Jeni advocates for sustainable practices in her projects. She brings her expertise to clients through guided material selections, attention to indoor air quality management, and carbon footprint impact. She specializes in thoughtful remodel considerations, and the reuse and repurposing of materials, furnishings, and various items throughout the design/build process. She is known for her meticulous attention to detail and ability to create unique, soulful, and layered spaces from which her clients benefit on all levels.  She is dedicated to bringing creative, economical, and stylish innovations from the alternate and natural building realm into the world of mainstream design and renovations.



Emiline Layfield is a passionate advocate for sustainable construction practices with over five years in residential real estate and a growing expertise in building biology and environmental consulting. As an observing member of the Ontario Natural Building Coalition, she is focused on learning how natural materials can be used to enhance the energetics, healthfulness, and sustainability of clients’ homes. Emiline collaborates with builders, architects, and homeowners to inspire energy-efficient, durable, and nourishing living spaces. In her free time, she enjoys exploring Ontario's wilderness and spending as much time barefoot in nature as possible.


Jeremy cultured his passion for sustainable building after attending the 2010 Sustainable Building and Design course led by Jen Feign and Chris Magwood. After working on some small natural builds, he joined The Little Building Company as a lead carpenter for 9 years, before making the tough call to step away in 2021 and found his own small building company - The Karma Hammer. Jeremy is pursuing work with straw bale and natural materials, but in between takes on 'conventional' projects, while offering as many sustainable options as possible. Jeremy is driven to share his knowledge and teach others about carpentry, and natural building. Jeremy loves dogs.



Cheryl is a Graphic Design graduate of both Georgian and Sheridan College. As coordinator for the ONBC, she brings a diverse career background that includes graphic design, workshop development, library management, NFP project coordination as well as hands-on and management roles in the fields of retail building materials and alternative home building. For Cheryl, living in rural settings around Renfrew County has nourished a love and appreciation for its lands, waters, forests, and people. She lives off-grid in a renewable energy home near Killaloe.

If you are interested in becoming a board member please contact us!


We’ll keep you up to date and in the know on upcoming ONBC natural building events & news. 

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