The Honourable Joe Fontana, Minister of Labour and Housing,
through Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC)
announced on July 20th a contribution of $1 million to launch the
first phase of a Canadian net-zero energy healthy housing
initiative. Homes that utilise solar thermal and solar photovoltaic
(PV) technologies to generate as much energy as their yearly
load and provide safeguards to maintain a healthy indoor
environment are referred to as net-zero energy healthy homes.
The timeline for this initiative is ambitious as it plans on having
the first houses up within 18 months of the announcement. The
creation of the demonstration program comes after months of
meetings and workshops presented to various levels of
government by the Net Zero Energy Home Coalition (NZEHC),
as presented in the spring issue of SOL.
If all goes well with this current initiative, which did not yet set a
target on the number of houses to be built, a second initiative
could be established within 5 years that would see community
scale demonstrations totalling 1500 homes across the country.
The NZEHC’s goal is to have all new homes built to a net-zero
energy healthy house standard by 2030. The purpose of this first
initiative is to demonstrate early applications and to show how
net-zero energy housing solutions can work. The program will
also target reduced consumption of land, water, building
materials, natural habitat, and infrastructure. It is important for
Canada to be looking at ways of reducing our energy
consumption at home, as housing is responsible for 16% of our
GHG emissions. CMHC will soon be releasing request for
proposals to find developers, homebuilders, housing
manufacturers, etc., who are interested in taking part.
Minister Fontana and members of the Net
ISES Launched Solar House Competition in 1957
ISES released its 50th anniversary CD, The Fifty-Year History of ISES, at the Solar World Congress in
Orlando, FLA, this summer. The trials and tribulations along with the successes of the society and its
early pioneers is well documented. Of particular interest to Canada with CMHC’s support of a net-zero
energy solar home demonstration program is the description of the Solar House Competition that the
society launched in 1957. Peter Lee, a student at the University of Minnesota, submitted the winning
design out of 113 entries from 13 countries, which featured solar collectors in the form of rotating louvers to track the sun. Unfortunately, the project was prematurely
erminated one month after its initial public opening when
neighbours filed legal actions stating the house did not meet the
zoning requirements for “conventional southwestern architecture”.
Nevertheless, people who want to participate in CMHC’s
demonstration program can still profit from looking at early designs
from pioneers of solar architecture. ISES offers a CD of the book,
Living with the sun, that was initially published in 1958 that
includes plans and drawings of 60 entries, including the top 5
entries and honourable mentions.