A healthy and ecological house
The Ecoological Solar House, just a few steps from the Biosphère in Parc Jean-Drapeau, is a self-sufficient, intelligent and ecological solar-powered house that respects North American standards of comfort. It is architecturally attractive and extremely energy efficient. The materials, devices, structure and architecture have been carefully selected to reduce its environmental footprint. Its special features and use of a variety of technological innovations make it a healthy place to live. It showcases dozens of green solutions that are available and can be applied to all types of housing.
Consumers will be inspired and encouraged to act to reduce their own environmental footprint. In addition to demonstrating alternate energy, the Ecoological House also aims to promote a new way of living that is not only ecological, but also cool…
**Please note that the Ecoological Solar House is open every day until 5 PM. Daily schedules may exceptionally vary. Do not hesitate to contact us!**
The solar house has a total living space of 80 m2 (800 ft2) and faces south to maximize window and solar panel exposure to the sun. The simple and innovative steel structure offers precision, strength and architectural flexibility while being recyclable and reusable. Each part has been made to measure toeliminate any construction waste. The floors are made of local wood and have been varnished with a product that contains no volatile organic compounds (VOCs). The walls have been painted with “green” water-based paint. The exterior siding is made of paraffin-coated roasted wood that is water-resistant and not chemically treated. The house is insulated with polyurethane made of recycled plastic and soy, which offers superior thermal performance.
Electricity in this house is produced by forty 205-W photovoltaic solar panels providing 8.2 kW under optimal conditions. The house is powered by two systems: alternating current (AC) for general energy needs and direct current (DC) for the automation system and control panels. It also comes equipped with two thermal solar panels, positioned on the roof, and designed to heat air, water or coolant fluid, which then circulates in the radiant system and helps heat the premises. A geothermal heat pump offsets the energy needs as required, and also produces cold water for the air-conditioning system.
The window energy efficiency has been improved by filling in the space between the three panes with argon, an inert heavy gas that does not conduct or exchange heat, thus reducing heat loss. The resistance of the windows is Rsi = 5.4, one of the most effective thermal and sound insulations on the market.
Green wall, roof and landscaping
The green wall on the southern facade and the green roof on the north-facing side help cool the building and capture rainwater. The house is also environmentally landscaped to respect the needs of plants. This approach is based primarily on three factors: a good selection of plants, the natural preparation of the soil and appropriate care. The plants are in the “right spot” in the appropriate soil to optimize their resistance to insects and disease. Perennial, indigenous or wild plants are selected and planted based on soil and drainage conditions to avoid the need for fertilizer, frequent watering, regular weeding or constant working of the soil. Alongside the solar house, visitors will find a vegetable garden, an alternative lawn surface (thyme and clover), an herb garden, fruit trees, bushes and filtering plants.
A significant portion of our environmental footprint can be attributed to how we landscape ormaintain our yards. By choosing environmentally friendly gardening methods we can considerably reduce this footprint. The principle of environmental gardening is simple: Let Mother Nature do the work.
Large frosted surfaces are actually made up of glass panes, which combine the properties of a window, by allowing light to pass through, and the properties of a wall, by reducing heat loss. The inhabitants of the house can therefore have their privacy while enjoying natural light.
Radiant heated floor
Unlike convection heating, radiant heating does not heat the air, but rather large surfaces such as floors or walls. In the solar house, the radiant heated floor is supplied by two thermal solar panels. The water heated on the roof then circulates through pipes hidden under our feet. The heat produced from the floor is spread evenly throughout all the rooms, providing stable, ambient comfort.
Eco-energy and green products
Lighting in the Ecoological House is eco-energy efficient. Compact fluorescent light bulbs, which have a longer life (6000 hours) and require less energy than incandescent bulbs, are used. Appliances are ENERGY STAR® certified, which not only reduces energy consumption, but also saves money in the long run. This international symbol of high efficiency enables consumers to easily identify optimal energy efficiency products available on the market.
Inside the solar house, dozens of EcoLogoM consumer products, including household cleaning products, are highlighted to help visitors in their purchasing decisions. EcoLogoM, an Environment Canada registered trademark, is an environmental certification symbol that is one of the most highly recognized and respected in North America. This eco-labelling program helps consumers identify products and services that are environmentally friendly.The program sets out stringent and scientifically relevant criteria, compares products and services within a given category and assigns the EcoLogoM label to those that qualify based on an in-depth evaluation and audit process.
The automation system provides occupants with real-time information on energy consumption, production and storage. The system controls the air humidity, heating, lighting and the amount of sunlight entering the house. Everything is automatically managed, which helps optimize energy consumption.
The solar house was designed by 40 engineering and architecture students at the École de technologie supérieure (ÉTS) – Université du Québec à Montréal, the École Polytechnique – Université de Montréal, and McGill University for an international competition, the 2007 Solar Decathlon, in Washington, D.C., organized by the American Department of Energy. With its house, called Lumen Essence, the Montréal team placed eighth out of the 20 university teams. Through a partnership agreement between the ÉTS, the Parc Jean-Drapeau and Environment Canada’s Biosphère, the solar house has been set up near the museum for a period of five years, until 2013, as a way of demonstrating energy efficiency and raising public awareness.