Solar-powered multi-generational home offsets its energy consumption

June 5, 2018 by  
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Toronto-based architecture firm Williamson Williamson has completed a stunning home that embraces aging in place with a sustainably minded footprint. Located in the Ontario town of Hamilton, the House on Ancaster Creek comprises two distinct residences—one for the clients and the other for their elderly parents. The multigenerational home also reduces its energy demands with a 10KVa solar array, daylighting techniques, and low-energy fixtures throughout. Conceived as a high-density solution, the House on Ancaster Creek combines the functions of two separate homes into a single L-shaped entity. To accommodate any future mobility limitations, the architects placed the parents’ suite on the ground floor, where it’s joined with additional living spaces. Elder-friendly design considerations and features were also incorporated, such as the well-located drains and a master power switch that can immediately switch off any fixtures accidentally left on due to memory loss. The second floor master suite is accessed via a dramatic wood-clad spiral staircase that ascends from the first-floor living room located at the intersection of the two rectangular volumes. The main residence is positioned parallel to the creek and overlooks the views through floor-to-ceiling glazing. Full-height glazing is also used throughout the home to create a seamless connection with the outdoors. The material palette also reflects this connection: the ground floor of the home is clad in three-and-a-half-inch thick locally quarried Algonquin limestone while timber is used throughout. Related: Fabulous multigenerational home allows owners to comfortably age in place Despite the abundance of glazing, the home manages to keep energy demands to a minimum thanks to a highly insulated envelope and a high-performance triple-pane wood-frame window system with an average Uw of .77. Radiant heating is also used to complement a high-efficiency furnace, while LEDs and low-energy fixtures are installed throughout. A 37-module 9.8 kW solar array is installed on two of the flat roofs to offset energy consumption. + Williamson Williamson Via ArchDaily Images by Ben Rahn / A-Frame Inc.

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Solar-powered multi-generational home offsets its energy consumption

This modern vacation home embraces indoor-outdoor living in Ontario

May 25, 2018 by  
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The boundary between indoors and out are blurred to beautiful effect in the Bear Stand Residence, a family retreat located approximately three hours northeast of Toronto, Ontario. Designed by Bohlin Grauman Miller in association with Bohlin Cywinski Jackson , the 3,300-square-foot holiday home is wrapped in glazing and natural materials in order to feel like an airy extension of the surrounding forest. Sitting along the shores of Contau Lake, the Bear Stand serves as an escape from city life for residents Sharon Leece and Joe Migrath. The couple lives and work in Shanghai but sought a forested retreat that they could share with their young daughter as well as family and friends. When in Shanghai, the family also offers the house as a vacation rental. “We wanted to build a West Coast-style property, as we love the open, airy, inside-outside connectivity of the modernist design approach there,” Leece said. “We felt the land was the perfect place to envision an authentic cabin aesthetic, visually connected with the environment.” Before Bohlin Cywinski Jackson principal Robert Miller started the design process, he joined the clients in a multi-day camping trip on the property to get a feel of the land. The time he spent with the couple was critical to shaping the vision for the house, which is designed to embrace the surrounding lake and forest at every turn. Related: The net-zero Frick Environmental Center is officially one of the world’s greenest buildings In addition to the master suite, the Bear Stand can accommodate a minimum of 12 guests in three guest suites, a bunk room with four beds and a den. The two-story home is oriented on an east-west axis to parallel the lake and an adjacent granite rock-face that rises up to the south. A double-height living room and dining area forms the heart of the home, while nearly all of the bedrooms — save for one guest bedroom — are located upstairs. The material palette echoes the wooded environment, from the black fiber-cement panels and stained cedar siding to the indoor fir windows and walnut flooring. Large windows open the home up to the outdoors. The house also includes a private sauna, ofuro soaking tub, hot tub and a screened porch. The American Institute of Architects  recently recognized the home’s excellence with a 2018 Housing Award. + Bohlin Cywinski Jackson Images by Nic Lehoux

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This modern vacation home embraces indoor-outdoor living in Ontario

This ultra-thin aluminum pavilion evokes a supernatural pine tree

March 12, 2018 by  
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Marc Fornes / THEVERYMANY’s works are both otherworldly and instantly recognizable—and Pine Sanctuary at the entrance to the Riverwood Conservancy in Mississauga is no exception. Like the NYC-based art and architecture firm’s other projects, this vaulted structure combines organic forms with striking coloration in an ultra-thin aluminum composition. The large-scale sculpture was brought to life with computation design and digital fabrication and was funded in part by the Canada 150 Community Infrastructure Program in celebration of Canada’s 150th anniversary. From a distance, Pine Sanctuary’s conical and green appearance evokes the image of an unusual tree. Up close, however, the self-supporting pavilion reveals itself as a porous shelter providing shade and an unforgettable photo backdrop. The curvilinear installation was built from laser-cut pieces of ultra-thin aluminum that were painted in four shades of green, blue, black, and white. The linear aluminum stripes and arching components were installed from the ground up. Related: This incredible building is made from material as thin as a coin “A system of branches rotates around a center point,” wrote the architects. “There’s no trunk holding up this arboreal structure. Instead, it opens up into a shady space. “Branches” touch the ground lightly around a covered grove, like a redwood hollowed out. Its feet, splay in all directions, along the way creating a labyrinth through which one can slip in, out and around. Circling the structure, no facade ever repeats itself. The new, unique angle upon every step forward prolongs the sense of discovery.” Pine Sanctuary is the studio’s second public pavilion in Canada. + Marc Fornes / THEVERYMANY Images via Marc Fornes / THEVERYMANY

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Ontario greenhouses could lose $10M because of new cap-and-trade rules

July 6, 2017 by  
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Ontario , Canada has 2,900 acres of greenhouses that export over $1 billion of cucumbers, tomatoes, and green peppers to the United States. But greenhouse growers are saying they’ll suffer under the province’s new climate action plan. Their industry doesn’t only produce carbon dioxide (CO2) but consumes it as part of plants ‘ photosynthesis process, but unlike in British Columbia and Alberta, Ontario growers won’t receive a rebate for the carbon consumption, which could cost them around $10 million in 2017. In January Ontario put in place cap-and-trade rules in an effort to combat climate change . But greenhouse growers say the rules are unfair to them, since they consume CO2 instead of just emitting it. They’ll be charged $18 per metric ton of carbon. Related: Wind-powered vertical Skyfarms are the future of sustainable agriculture Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers chair George Gilvesy told Financial Post, “We aren’t happy at all. We are using CO2 and the plants need CO2. Cap-and-trade is very bad policy . We are competing against the U.S. and Mexico, who do not have a carbon tax .” What would they prefer instead? A rebate, such as that given to growers in Alberta and British Columbia. Lawmakers in those provinces recognize greenhouses consume CO2 and offer a carbon tax rebate. BC Greenhouse Growers’ Association executive director Linda Delli Santi said British Columbia’s carbon tax used to cost her five-acre greenhouse $50,000 yearly and helped put it out of business. So growers successfully lobbied the government for a rebate. British Columbia’s then finance minister Michael de Jong said at the time, “Greenhouse growers are distinct from most others in that they need carbon dioxide and purposely produce it because it is essential for plant growth.” Ontario environment ministry spokesperson Gary Wheeler said the province knows greenhouses will be an important source of local food as the climate changes. He told Financial Post, “Ontario’s Climate Change Action Plan has committed up to $115 million to support the retrofit of agricultural facilities, including greenhouses. The investment will help the industry expand the use of innovative technologies and practices to reduce emissions .” Via Financial Post Images via Wikimedia Commons and Pixabay

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Ontario greenhouses could lose $10M because of new cap-and-trade rules

See how the "Kiss-Kiss House" snaps in half like a branch to embrace the landscape

March 2, 2017 by  
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Homes built to embrace the landscape, rather than working against it, always seem to have a good story to tell. The Kiss-Kiss House, a prefabricated home that gets its name from its linear shape broken into two bars kissing at an angle to frame the existing bedrock, is no exception. Designed by Minneapolis-based Lazor Office , the cedar-clad home is perched above bedrock on the shore of the remote Rainy Lake in Ontario. Inspired by driftwood, the Kiss-Kiss House is clad in unpainted cedar panels that also help blend the home into its forested surroundings. The home’s main structure, made up of two modules set at an angle, is set atop bedrock and is thus raised with elevated pathways that also preserve and frame the rock. Views of the water were prioritized and embraced through floor-to-ceiling , full-length glass on the lakeside facades of the two modules. The home’s elevated position and uninterrupted views create the sensation of floating over water when in the home. Related: Apple design director perfects a prefab home into an ultra-minimal, modern dwelling “At the kiss line between two prefabricated modules, the lineal form of the house snaps like a branch held together only by bark,” writes Lazor Office. “The open break forms a V-shaped outdoor room facing the water.” The larger of the two modules contains the master suite, kitchen, and lounge, while the other module houses the playroom, mudroom, and two bedrooms. The private areas are located at the ends of the modules, whereas the communal areas are closely linked together by the breezeway . Elevated walkways connect the modular home to a walled vegetable garden, dock house, and garage. + Lazor Office Images via Lazor Office

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See how the "Kiss-Kiss House" snaps in half like a branch to embrace the landscape

Ontario is rolling out a basic income test for citizens living under the poverty line

November 16, 2016 by  
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Earlier this year Canadian officials in Ontario indicated plans to test a basic income project. Now they are moving forward with a 2017 start date. Ontario citizens living under the poverty line will receive a certain amount of money each month with no strings attached. Conservative strategist Hugh Segal thinks the project could help Canada determine whether a basic income will reduce pressures on healthcare spending and encourage people to work. The government tasked Segal with exploring the idea, and he released a lengthy discussion paper around the end of the summer. He noted the pilot project is meant to provide evidence on how the program might improve lives. For example, as opposed to traditional welfare programs, the money could responsibly help people working low-paying jobs and might strengthen motivation to work. Segal argued in his paper that current eligibility programs are seriously demeaning, and can only go so far in alleviating poverty. “Our present social assistance system imposes limits on economic progress, often keeping welfare recipients from entering the economic mainstream,” he wrote in his paper. Related: Canada is planning to give people free money, just for being citizens In an interview with The Guardian, Segal said basic income could “give people a floor beneath which they’re not allowed to fall.” Under the pilot project, citizens 18 to 65 under the poverty line will receive $1,320 every month, and disabled people will receive $1,820. People will receive basic income whether they are employed or not. According to Big Think, the basic income idea has bipartisan appeal because it could totally shake up the welfare system and provide people with opportunities. Segal said for Ontario to get a true sense of whether or not the project is working, the basic income experiment should run for a minimum of three years. Via Big Think and The Guardian Images via jsnsndr on Flickr and Dennis Jarvis on Flickr

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The world’s first levitating pneumatic Hyperloop system will be tested next week

October 27, 2016 by  
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The Waterloop team is focusing on reducing the weight of its futuristic vehicle in order to boost speed . Currently, the team is aiming for 340 miles per hour (550 km/h). While that is only around half the speed that theoretical Hyperloop pods can travel, it will be an impressive accomplishment for an actual prototype. The GOOSE I pod, backed in part by crowdfunding efforts, is the team’s half-scale, functional prototype vehicle pod. Related: Is it real? Redditor claims to show first glimpse of futuristic Hyperloop test track After unveiling the initial Hyperloop concept in 2013, SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk moved quickly to share the technology by making it open source. In doing so, he fired a starting gun of sorts, kicking off a global innovation race. Although Musk is not directly involved with any of the teams working toward a working Hyperloop system, SpaceX launched the Hyperloop Pod Competition I in 2015, which invites Hyperloop teams from around the world to test their human-scale pods on the mile-long test track built adjacent to SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, California. The competition is scheduled for the weekend of January 27-29, 2017. Team Waterloop, the only Hyperloop competition team from Canada, is looking forward to unleashing their creation at that event. + Team Waterloop Images via Team Waterloop

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Canada is planning to give people free money just for being citizens

March 9, 2016 by  
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Officials from the Canadian province of Ontario just announced plans to implement a universal basic income experiment in which residents of Ontario would be provided with unconditional cash payments just for being citizens. While details remain sparse, the finance ministry of Ontario has released a report that confirms the province’s plans to pursue a basic income policy. In a budget statement, the provincial government said that “as Ontario’s economy grows, the government remains committed to leaving no one behind.” As advancing automation and income inequality squeeze working people in Ontario and elsewhere, a basic income could provide stability on which to build a better life. Read the rest of Canada is planning to give people free money just for being citizens

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Beautiful Ontario refuge built from reclaimed materials is 100% self-sufficient

December 23, 2015 by  
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Modern solar-powered Ontario home is insulated with straw bales

December 16, 2015 by  
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