Energreen: Building Efficiently.
In Canada, a country with the winter is harsh and energy needs to heat the house are elevated, it is important to find alternatives that allow you to reduce costs. We were in a house that functioned with passive solar, a system of capturing solar radiation to heat the house. With this system, the house was able to maintain the living space at a pleasant temperature on a sunny, winter day.
In the city of Sackville, we have a friend that works at a cooperative dedicated to creating houses with this system. We called them and they told us they would be pleased to do an interview with us, thus I arrived the following morning armed with a camera and recorder. Steve was the one to receive me and seated at his desk, we began a pleasant conversation. Steve, together with a group of people, the majority of which had family ties and had always been concerned with the environment and design professions, decided ten years ago to unite in order to start this cooperative with the intention of working with passive solar.
Currently, there are ten people that form the cooperative, each one has different responsibilities that rotate, but important decisions are made collectively, in an assembly, where everyone has the same right to vote and reach consensus. “Sometimes, we are slow to understand each other since we have different points of view, but we know each other very well and although we argue we always end up making a decision together” Steve commented. “It is very important to us that we all are able to voice opinions and be heard, because in this way we all feel equally responsible and important to the business.”
At the beginning, there weren’t many who were interested in what they offered, but little by little, many have seen the energy savings obtained in houses they manufactured and understood the importance of this technology, which has lead to a progressive increase in contracting. The key is good thermal insulation to prevent the escape of heat as much as possible, a perfect orientation pointing to the real south (not the magnetic) is fundamental for the system to function well and large windows that allow solar radiation to enter. There are different ways to store this radiation, one of which uses large blocks of cement that are heated during the day and release the heat little by little during the night. This is one of the diverse ways to use this energy.
They intend to use as many materials respectful of the environment as possible, ecological isolation, sustainable uses of wood and ecological tiles, among others. “There are not many who understand the importance of the dollars invested in environmentally respectful materials or in this type of practice. They are more concerned with what they spend now instead of what they will save in the future; this is one of the difficulties that we face in order to offer our services. Our houses are slightly more expensive than conventional ones, and even more if we use ecological material; but little by little increasingly more people seek us out, since they understand the benefits of their responsibility to do what is in their own hands for the good of the planet”.
One can save up to 50% of energy wasted on heating and that energy can be used anywhere by using this type of practice, an ancient practice that must be disseminated and incentivised. I very much liked to see this project which I hope inspires others to become interested in this type of efficient and environmentally respectful construction.
Writed by Joel Jansà.
See the pictures of this project bellow:
Learn more about this project at: