On the stunning shores of Nova Scotia on Canada's east coast, you wouldn’t expect the modern one-level residence perched overlooking the ocean to be a testament to the powers of recycling. But, sure enough, this stylish dwelling created by green building startup firm JD Composites is made from 600,000 plastic bottles.
This 2000 square foot beach house is situated in Acadian fishing community Meteghan, a quaint town on the shore of St. Mary’s Bay in western Nova Scotia. The second-smallest of Canada's ten provinces, and second most densely populated, the island of Nova Scotia has a population of around 971,000 and is fully surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean. The province maintains a strong connection to Irish and Scottish heritage, its name translating to "New Scotland."
The builders of the three-bedroom Echo-House have made the most of its gorgeous ocean views, with expansive windows, a sun terrace on the roof and a terrace by the beach.
Business partners and Nova Scotians David Saulnier and Joel German developed and patented a breakthrough technology for building: structural insulated panels (SIPs) made from recycled polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles. PET, a form of food-grade polyester, is the most commonly recycled plastic worldwide and can be recycled multiple times.
The foam core is manufactured by Armacell, who shreds and melts together thousands of plastic bottles to make 15 cm-thick plastic foam slabs. JD Composites then finishes the panels with a fibreglass exterior and custom-cuts pieces to fit together like a puzzle.
In addition to offsetting waste, the panels are energy-efficient, which means they are 2.3 times better insulators than traditional wood and fibreglass, without the typical thermal breaks that wood traditionally causes.
The panels are extremely sturdy and when tested in a wind tunnel, the panels withstood wind speeds up to 326 mph, greater than any recorded hurricane. Talk about strong!
The house cost around $400,000 to build, and the designers say repair costs down the road will be minimal because the materials have been proven to be so durable.
This one-of-a-kind project could be a game-changer for our global climate emergency that sees plastics clogging the oceans and extreme weather destroying homes. Who would have thought that life in plastic could be fantastic!
All photos courtesy of JD Composites.
For further reading about sustainable building projects in Canada, check out these houseporn.ca articles:
Researched and written by Emma Cosgrove, a graduate of the Journalism program at Ryerson University.