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New Attempt to Build on Actuaries' Expertise

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Most actuaries are used to working for pension plans, insurers, and similar organizations. However, CIA member Jason Alleyne, pictured, is helping to promote the profession's expertise to a new audience: house builders.

Mr. Alleyne, FCIA, FSA, FIA, vice-president and chief pricing actuary at BMO Life Assurance, is featured in a story in Green Building and Sustainable Strategies magazine, discussing the development of his own sustainable home and how actuaries can advise people planning similar work.

Mr. Alleyne and his wife Paula, a fellow actuary, had decided they needed to replace their "poorly constructed" house in Toronto, ON, with a home that "should work as well today as it will 100 years from now". Inspired by a David Suzuki documentary, they interviewed architects and decided on a plan that involved no ducting or venting in the building, plus breathable walls and LED lighting.

Their decisions were based on an integrated design philosophy, said Mr. Alleyne, and the house will have triple-pane windows, grey-water recycling, polished concrete floors and an earth plaster finish that will allow it to breathe better.

However, he tells the magazine's readers that there are challenges to overcome. "To build green you need an architect who can design the holistic approach to the structure. You need to find a qualified contractor who understands how to put these pieces together. But the core component of green that actually might stop someone is the value proposition."

He adds that if the question of value is the problem, an actuary could solve it by crunching the necessary numbers: "Our architect has picked up on that. Clients are stumbling on the most important pillar can I actually afford to do this? If we can get people past that hurdle sustainable living and building green is attainable for the masses."


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