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The Greenest Home in the Country

26 May 2013

If you have solar panels on your roof, a windmill in your backyard, and nothing but energy-efficient appliances in your home, you may think you’ve been doing a pretty good job of keeping your home green. But once you see the greenest home in Canada, which is to be unveiled today, you might think that the measures you’ve taken so far are small in comparison.

The home is in Peterborough and sits at 136 1/2 James Street. It’s not currently certified as Canada’s greenest home, but in a year’s time it most likely will be. This home goes far beyond solar panels and tankless water heaters. This home collects, treats, and uses rainwater; has a human waste compost in the basement (that thankfully doesn’t emit odours); and has been put together with a sandwich of straw and concrete that makes up its walls. And the home also generates its own power, and even gives power back to the grid – which will make for a nice little profit for its future owners.

Even more, every single product used in construction of the home was obtained locally, so not to distribute more fuel and emissions into the air. And in addition to even all of that, each and every product was also fully researched and investigated to ensure that only non-toxic, all-natural, environmentally-friendly products were used.

But was size and function sacrificed to make this home the greenest in the country? Not at all. This home has three bedrooms and is two storeys, in addition to being completely self-sustainable. And it’s beautiful.

“We took everything we could from the natural world…and put it in a modern context so it doesn’t look ‘cave manish,'” says Chris Magwood, the project manager on the home.

Sound like a lot? That’s because it is, and that’s just scratching the surface of what makes this home so green.

But is it green enough to be the greenest in the country? That will take a year’s time to determine, as two different certifications are required. One certification will be from the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, which gives designations in bronze, silver, gold, and platinum ranks. The other will be from the Canada Green Building Council under their Living Building Challenge program.

Getting either certification is going to be incredibly difficult, but Magwood is confident that they’ll get them after a homeowner has lived in the structure for a year. He says that the project was completed by his team and eight students of The Endeavour Centre, a non-profit school that promotes sustainable building. They didn’t use any special construction techniques, nor did they use any special materials. The home, Magwood notes, also cost little more than a conventional home would, aside from a few major features, such as the human waste compost.

With this newest home in Peterborough, and the rebate the green rebate Canada Guaranty just announced, it’s clear that going green is becoming a huge trend for Canadians today!

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