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Smart Surfaces

Smart Surfaces

Smart Growth America (SGA) has developed a comprehensive cost-benefit model meant to bring to the attention of municipalities what SGA is calling infrastructural “smart surfaces”, ie. surfaces that reduce urban heat island effect, absorb carbon, and/or reduce water run-off.   Examples include high-albedo roofing and pavements, photovoltaic panels, permeable pavers, green roofs, and urban trees. Transforming urban surfaces has been projected to have benefits of about 3-4 times the cost when three pilot cities were modelled, considering raw cost, direct cost savings, reductions in social inequality, and mitigations to climate change.

OPEN Technologies is converting the current Excel-based model into a new calculation engine suitable for running on servers.  While an Excel tool, used correctly, can help produce an optimal mix of the various smart surface interventions for a given urban area, applying such a model to a new urban area is complicated:

  • providing several dozen accurate inputs such as the quantity of high- and low-slope roof area or regional installation costs requires significant ‘data-detective’ work;
  • shaping and interpreting the result requires an expert’s understanding of how the model is put together.

The web-browser-based user interface that OPEN is building includes a calculation engine that eases both of these challenges:

  • It reduces the data-detective work of filling in the necessary urban-context-specific inputs, either by connecting to available data sources or guiding the user to make educated guesses, and
  • It provides clear, actionable, and easily-shared results and (as far as is feasible) makes the process by which the inputs produced result legible and non-mysterious.

The tool will be used by architects, urban planners, urban sustainability professionals and municipalities to justify investments in smarter infrastructure.

Interested in learning more? Send a note to

Partners & Supporters:
Smart Growth America, Integral Group

Three for All

Three for All

Through 2018 and 2019, a coalition of industry organizations worked together to connect municipal staff and council with the resources and research they needed to implement the BC Energy Step Code. Three for All addressed 10 city councils, published various op-eds and interviews, convened speakers and panelists, and inspired advocacy efforts from other groups and industry participants.

Contact Jenna McNeil to learn more about the Three for All campaign.

Partners & Supporters:
Pembina Institute, Canada Green Building Council, Integral Group, Passive House Canada.

Software Developer

How would you spend your time?

  • Attending daily 10:00 am standups
  • Helping with work planning / designing features and breaking them down into doable work
  • Implementing features
  • Diagnosing and fixing the sadly inevitable bugs and minor mismatches in design expectations
  • Preparing and monitoring production environments for customers


Minimum qualifications


  • Are a generalist; you know a broad swath of the web development domain
  • Are an intermediate web programmer, likely with 5-10 years of experience ( please apply if you meet the requirements)
  • Take high level direction (goals-of-the-week level)
  • Are very strong in Unix/Linux, stitching systems together
  • Have excellent written communication skills; you write lucid, short English and get the point across
  • You are willing to critique work and have your work critiqued
  • You understand basic Javascript, HTML, CSS without transpilers (ie. can work below level of Babel/SCSS when things go south).
  • You are familiar with React / Redux / Ramda
  • Have a willingness to learn new things, problem-solve, ask for help, admit your mistakes and share your expertise generously



(If you have experience with any of the following, be sure to mention it in your cover letter):

  • Clojure/Clojurescript
  • Functional programming
  • Python + Django
  • Javascript
    • React + Redux for current work
    • Backbone for legacy work (maps)
    • Vega / D3
    • Leaflet.js
  • Ansible
  • Postgresql
  • Docker
  • Web authentication
  • Solid understanding of the production architecture of web applications
  • Test-driven development (mostly unit-testing level)
  • Browser acceptance testing in Cucumber
  • Both object-oriented and functional programming experience
  • Prior knowledge of the architecture, engineering and construction sector


How can you apply?

Please send the following to with the subject line Last Name, First Name, Software Developer.

1.   A one-page resume showing relevant experience
2.   A brief cover letter that explains how you meet the requirements and why you are interested in working with OPEN

Justin Belanger

Justin is an engineer on a mission to empower individuals and organizations while restoring the natural world. He also enjoys drawing, jogging, learning new languages, and participating in local programmer communities.

Julia Watson

Julia is enthusiastic about creating processes to achieve efficient work flow. Though she obtained a Bachelors in Business from SFU, it is her permaculture certificate that has most influenced her approach to life and work. When not grounding the financial details of OPEN, Julia is either teaching meditation or building a strawbale cabin.

Andrew Shopland

Andrew is a software developer, urban geographer, cartographer, and community builder—sometimes all at once! His favourite types of community to build are diverse, inclusive, healthy, resilient, sustainable, walkable, bikeable, intergenerational, intersectional, and heart-centred.

Greg Sugiyama

Prior to developing web applications, Greg worked for a decade as a professional chef. He still loves the magic of fermenting foods to create amazing flavours, but is now equally passionate about clean, maintainable code.

Jenna McNeil

Jenna began working in the green building industry in 2012, focussing on engaging building industry stakeholders in post-occupancy sustainability.  She supports operations and product management for OPEN Technologies and is a Board director at the HiVE. Jenna is currently learning metalsmithing, powerlifting and how to speak Albanian.

Jeanine Longley

Jeanine is a product manager with a background in customer service and outdoor tourism. From a young age she has self-identified with the label “environmentalist” and is passionate about finding viable solutions (technological, industrial, political, and more) to the climate crisis. On the weekends you can find Jeanine on a Gulf Island gardening or doing construction.

Ryan McCuaig

Ryan is a registered architect and software designer practicing in Vancouver. He worked as a project architect for fifteen years, specializing in complex recreational and academic renovations. He now concentrates on coaxing computers of all kinds into helping architects, engineers and contractors make better, more sustainable, more humane buildings.