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Positive Energy Buildings

Objective

 

This project aims to prove that it is possible, using today's technologies, to build scalable developments of sustainable homes and buildings that produce more energy than they consume, at lower construction costs compared to cost to build average new homes.

The project also aims to demonstrate that this can be done while providing homes which as a result have lower operating and maintenance costs compared to the average new home, while offering the lowest environmental impact and the healthiest environment and more comfortable (using main factors such as absolute and radiant temperature, humidity, air movement, sound insulation and air quality).

The building materials chosen also feature the lowest possible embodied energy, since the energy used to produce, transport and install typical building materials for a home can account for more than 40 years of energy consumption (heat and electricity), and typical home construction results in the destruction of over an acre of forested area.

The positive energy homes are designed to provide enough excess electricity to power one or two electric vehicles traveling a total average of 80 km per day. The EV "fuel" and operating cost will come from the solar roof and will be provided at a fraction of the fuel and operating cost required to operate a typical Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) vehicle.

Another main aspect of these homes is that they offer the highest possible level of resilience and protection thanks to an integrated year-round food production system that provides both fish protein and fresh vegetables.

This project is also based on a totally different paradigm and a new way to develop, finance and build real estate projects, and to do this for "intentional communities" where resources are shared through co-housing while offering an optimal balance of privacy. Our goal is to create a community that would go further than LEED Platinum certified buildings by being one of the very first real estate developments to feature HQE (High Quality Environment) certified buildings outside of Europe.

Pilot Phase (Phase 1)

The objective of this first phase is to build a pilot demo building in Canada's national capital region. This project  features the ability to operate off-grid and combines various features that will be optional for the houses built in phase 2. For example, Phase 1 will feature an urban style low impact and low noise vertical axis wind turbine, an aquaponics system located in the veranda adjacent to the house, a natural pool, clean and sustainable (salt solution) batteries that outlive and outperform traditional battery chemistries, interseasonal storage of heat in a large stratified insulated cistern located in the building and combined with a water source heat pump that distributes heat through hydronic floors. A solar thermal/biomass heated greenhouse with hydronic piping in the ground and water efficient drip irrigation is to be used to produce vegetables all winter, and the project also features an urban forest and community garden. 

Deployment Phase (Phase 2)

The goal for this subsequent phase is to develop “regenerative” neighborhoods/villages by 2020. The developments feature autonomous off-grid buildings with green infrastructure for roads, sewage/waste management, and water.

This later phase feature an integrated approach with mixed-use low rise buildings and homes that will offer a great variety of sizes, shapes and appearance while allowing optimal passive and active solar energy. The development will ensure walkability, safe bicycle lanes and paths, electric car sharing. It is to be served by an electric school bus route, and an electric mini-bus service to downtown. The design integrates urban gardens and seek to attract community services and green businesses including organic local food stores and restaurants, artisan shops, green product retail outlets, health and recreation facilities, industries such as compressed earth brick manufacturing and other businesses related to low impact sustainable building materials. The design of the developments is to be inspired from the work of people such as UC Berkeley Prof. Christopher Alexander, known for his work on living architecture.

Documentation

This area is regularly updated as we improve the concept and find better more suitable technology for the project.

 

Overview

Background report on the project

Integrating Technologies and Urban Developments – The hidden benefits (NRCan sponsored study, 2014)

Note: To obtain this free report, please make a request by contacting Frederic Pouyot by phone at +1 819 923-2760

Building Materials

  • Active Energy Systems

Integrated Solar Roof and Energy Storage

Solar Photovoltaic + Thermal (PV/T)

Heat Distribution

Solar Evacuated Tubes (Optional)

Urban Wind Energy (Optional)

Biogas from domestic waste (Optional)

Kinetic Energy