In most cases, someone on vacation would have no idea that their furnace at home is failing. In the middle of winter, that’s an unpleasant thought.
Jayman Built president and chief operating officer Dave Desormeaux was on a beach in Mexico with Calgary temperatures below minus 20 degrees Celsius, when he experienced just that.
In his case, however, armed a technology that Jayman now offers as standard in its single-family homes, there was a vastly different result.
Desormeaux received an alert on his phone from his thermostat that it was trying to power his furnace for the past hour but with no success.
“The first thing I did was I got into the Ecobee (smart thermostat) app and looked at the temperature of the house — it had fallen,” says Desormeaux.
He then called a company to repair his furnace. Typically, with nobody home, access would be a problem.
“I unlocked (my home) from my lawn chair in Mexico,” Desormeaux says, who again used an app on his phone.
He also activated his Ring video doorbell — which allows the user to see the person standing at their door from an app on their phone — to confirm he was unlocking his home when the repairperson was on-scene.
Smart home technology is one of the latest ways Jayman is staying ahead of the curve.
Its automation package includes an Amazon Echo Show 5, Ring Video Doorbell with motion detection and two-way voice, Ring rear porch floodlight cam, Ecobee Smart Thermostat with Alexa voice control, smart August lock, and Kasa smart switches.
Along with getting homeowners out of costly situations, such as Desormeaux’s experience, this technology can add everyday value to the household by playing music, scheduling appointments and alarms, sharing the news, weather, recipes, and driving directions, among other features.
“This technology becomes the brains of the home,” says Desormeaux.
He points to the smart thermostat, for example, which is equipped with sensors that help reduce monthly utility costs.
Motion sensors ensure the home is saving energy on air conditioning and running its furnace when homeowners are away.
“These thermostats also automatically adjust the humidity based on how cold it is outside to make sure you don’t get frost, mildew, and mold on your windows,” Desormeaux says, calling the benefits to smart technology “endless.”
Ecobee can be controlled through an app or voice command.
Reaching back to co-founder Jay Westman’s central role in bringing Built Green certification to Canada, Jayman has never been shy about breaking ground.
“It’s the way we’re built,” Desormeaux says. “It’s in our DNA. And it’s in Jay’s DNA
“He has this natural inspiration to constantly move things to a better place.”
It’s the commitment to “better” that helped give rise to The Alberta New Home Warranty Program more than 40 years ago.
“Jayman Built and Jay Westman were among the founders of The Alberta New Home Warranty Program (ANHWP) at a time when builders really stepped forward to ensure that Albertans would consistently receive high-quality homes from the industry’s best builders,” offers Scott Hamilton, vice president of marketing and sales for the Alberta New Home Warranty Program.
“Jayman has long been an absolute vanguard in this industry, leading the way with best-in-class design, quality construction, superior customer experience, and an unmatched reputation,” he adds.
“Our relationship with builders in the province is one of partnership — of providing the peace-of-mind that homebuyers demand when they make the extraordinary investment in a new home.
Jayman is the blueprint for what it means to be a ‘leader,’ and their focus on operating with the customer at the center of their business is commendable.”
That innovative spirit endures.
“In our annual budget plan there is a big part of that cycle that is dedicated to innovation, looking at everything we do when we build a home and how we can do it better and include more for the same (price) or less,” adds Desormeaux.
Another example came earlier this year when the award-winning builder made electric vehicle charging outlets a standard feature in all homes with an attached garage.
“I went down to the consumer electronics show in Vegas and they said at this current time in North America there are about 20 electric vehicles you can choose from and in the next 18 months there will be over 200 electric vehicles on the market,” says Desormeaux.
“The next thing that was coming was the price of electric vehicles was going to drop dramatically, and are going to compete for head-on with gas engines,” he adds. “Out of those 200 models that were coming, a lot of them were starting at about $40,000 for the vehicle, so it was becoming way more commercially-viable.
Jayman realized the electric vehicle movement had staying power.
“As a builder, Jayman believes that customer experience and satisfaction are paramount to our success,” says Desormeaux. “We believe we go above and beyond to meet and exceed customer expectations. However, in those rare situations where we can not come to an amicable agreement with a customer, ANHWP is an invaluable resource.
“As an ‘objective’ arms-length expert, ANHWP’s role in fairly mediating disputes in a professional and timely manner for both builders, and customers, is crucial,” he adds.
While it was costly for an individual to install an outlet in an existing home, Jayman discovered that the costs related to installing them in new homes when purchased at a high volume made sense.
“Jayman tries to take something that is aspirational and then commoditize it,” Desormeaux says. “We find ways using our purchasing volume to get the price down to a point where everyone can have it, whether that’s granite or LED lighting or triple-pane windows, we were able to do that through buying power and negotiation.”
In that vein, Jayman was able to make solar panels on the roofs of its single-family homes a standard feature in 2019.
The builder’s solar panel package is said to save the average customer about $200 per year.
Excess energy created through these panels is supplied back to the grid and the homeowner will be awarded an energy credit on their bill.
“The money we save on having very tight processes, building a great home, and being very efficient at it, we are able to take some of those savings and pump it into value-added items,” says Desormeaux.
Jayman had a strong sales year in 2019. One of the reasons, says Desormeaux, was that the solar panel standard set them apart.
“In a lot of cases, it was their deciding factor,” he adds.
“The average consumer was saving about 25% on their electricity bill and it’s just going to grow bigger because of utility rates going up.”