- Post and beam construction with parallel strand lumber (PSL) manufactured from sawmill waste, laminated with a water-based non-formaldehyde adhesive to minimize VOC's
- Straw bale walls on N and E 1st floor; all walls R40 min.
- Living roof, with sedums planted in 6 in. of soil, keeps 2nd floor cooler in summer
- Krypton-filled, fiberglass framed windows with interior polyester film provide triple-glaze thermal equivalent; * S wall area is mostly windows, for max. passive solar gain; few windows in other directions cut winter heat loss and summer gain
- PV panels and large roof overhang shade S-facing windows from the summer sun
- Thermal mass, in the form of 4 in. slab-on-grade concrete foundation/floor, 2 in. concrete 2nd floor, concrete sills, interior limestone walls, granite counter tops and masonry heater, assist temperature stability in all seasons
- Underground vents from the N side provide summer convection cooling; warm air exiting via the central "breezeway" windows on 2nd floor
- 13,000 l underground cistern for harvesting roof runoff for domestic water
- PV panels (1.9 kw), wind turbine (900 w), battery bank (2,000 ah @ 24 v) and 4 kw inverter permit a 5 kwh avg. daily usage without a backup generator
- 4 Schott evacuated tube solar hot water panels for domestic hot water and supplementary space heating via in-floor hot water circulation
- Wood-burning masonry heater (http://heatkit.com/) with bake oven
"Star deck" for laundry, wind turbine access and viewing roof garden and stars
- Lawn is seeded with drought-resistant, slow-growing grasses.
About the Building
Gwen Hoover and Les MacDonald asked Toronto architect, Martin Liefhebber, (http://www.breathebyassociation.com) to help them design a 2,000 sq. ft, 3 bedroom, environmentally responsible, rural home. As the site, on the shore of the Bay of Quinte, is 500 m. from the county road, they decided to go "off-grid", using passive and active solar, supplemented with wind, wood (about 2.5 cord/yr) and propane (about 450 l/yr). Most energy is collected on-site, including about 1/4 of the firewood, from trees felled by strong off-shore winds. Propane, used mostly for cooking, is on standby for occasional water and space heating in winter.
Completed in 2006, it has been featured on CBC's The Nature of Things with David Suzuki ("Build Green", June 17, 2007), in Sergi Costa Duran, Green Homes: New Ideas for Sustainable Living. (New York: Harper Collins, 2007) and in Harrowsmith Country Life (April, 2008).