Living a four season life in Canada requires adaptation as our climate can swing to the extremes, especially when the objective is to live sustainably 'off the grid'.
This is no easy feat.
Here, the Solterre Concept Cottage by Solterre Design, successfully explores technology and design in this rustic cabin overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.
Solterre Design's Architect, Keith Robertson, lives there and claims, "We've been here for about six months and our total energy costs has been $157, so far," - CBC
Located at Second Peninsula, Nova Scotia the Solterre cabin is an award-winning Platinum Certified LEED House, which is the highest level available from the Canadian Green Building Council.
Incorporating the German based Passivhaus standard, the dwelling uses 70-90% less energy than a typical home of the same size. Despite the extreme temperatures of this location, the cabin’s interior temperature never drops below 15 degrees Celsius. Despite no heating system, the super-insulated envelope and south-facing windows keep the house at a stable temperature. Even if the cabin is unoccupied for long periods of time in winter, the pipes never freeze.
To reduce shipping and construction costs without compromising the integrity of the design, the insulation is recycled newsprint and the concrete floor contains recycled glass as an aggregate - both obtained from local manufacturers.
Salvaged furniture and materials were used throughout the property to reduce costs and elevate the design. I like how the salvaged walnut door in the photo above contrasts with the white wall, and how the recycled acrylic signage below creates a unique bath tub wallpaper.
As energy costs rise, Canadian consumers are becoming increasingly cognizant that sustainable and passive technologies are integral to the process of 'good design practice'. And Canadian design firms are listening. Many of the fundamentals of the german Passivhaus program have been incorporated into the Canadian Passive House Institute, which spearheads how modern technology, construction materials and design can be adapted to Canada's regional vernacular.
Isn't that amazing?
Want to learn more? Go to Nova Scotia's Solterre Design to see more examples of their sustainable commitment to architecture.
All Photographs are courtesy of Solterre Design.
Researched and Written by Silvialy Tjhin, Master of Architecture Candidate at University of Toronto