Ideas combine in ‘green’ house – Guelph Mercury
By Hilary Stead
Two Guelph entrepreneurs are combining centuries-old ideas with space-age technology to create a home that takes the concept of healthy, energy-efficient living to a new level.
Billed as Home Alive, the House that Thinks, Drinks and Breathes, its appliances will time activities for when the energy generated on site is most plentiful, or when grid-supplied electricity is least expensive. Heat from the waste water will be collected by pipes wrapped around the drain.
Waste water will be cleaned and recycled in an artificial wetland, where it will nourish a garden. Solar roof panels that will provide much of the home’s electricity
A botanical air filtration system will supply the house with naturally filtered air. Floors will be made of bamboo, which is as durable as most woods but grows much more quickly avoiding the harvesting of maple and oak.
“You’re living with a lighter ecological footprint,” said Brad Peterson, a landscape architect who designed the area that surrounds the high-tech home being built by Ben Polley’s Harvest Homes.
After six years of planning, the 1,500-square-foot, two-story model home and landscape will be featured at April’s National Home Show.
Peterson said interest in the project shows a mainstream audience is looking for ways to change their lifestyles.
“People think green, they just don’t necessarily act green for lack of options,” he said.
“It was recent social anxiety over air quality in Ontario, water quality in Walkerton, water shortages worldwide, spiraling energy costs and concern over climate change that led to the full expression of this landscape type.”
The approach is a modern adaptation of naturally occurring processes and centuries-old practices.
The home has a solarium, rain barrels and a hedgerow to protect it from winter winds. A driveway with permeable, non-toxic surfacing will minimize runoff.
“Everybody who walks through finds at least one thing that captures their imagination and that they could implement in their own home,” said Polley.
For Home Alive he is taking the concept of straw-bale home construction a step further by moving to prefabricated wall panels that are more portable, and could be mass produced.
Polley has invited local businesses to sponsor the project or donate energy-efficient products.
Peterson said many elements of the landscape serve multiple functions.
A large shade tree will cool the home in the summer and provide fruit, while letting the sun through to be collected by solar panels in winter.
A pond will irrigate the garden and provide habitat for wetland plants that purify the air and cool the atmosphere.
A masonry oven burns more efficiently than a wood stove or fireplace.
The Home Show runs April 4 tol3 at the National Trade Centre at Toronto’s Exhibition Place.