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2006 09 29
Lloyd Alter Brings Green Homes To Everyone In Toronto And Beyond

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The tireless Canadian architect and innovator Lloyd Alter has done it again. As a force behind Context Development’s seminal Niagara Street condo project, Alter showed the local design community he understands the market for smart, modernist design. He is back with a product that is so evolutionary – or perhaps revolutionary – that it is the answer to mass-produced, green living for the rest of us.

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Alter and co. recently launched http://www.sustain.ca to promote his new miniHome line of self-contained, turn-key, ecological homes. While not completely zero-footprint, the new miniHomes come as close to it as anything found anywhere. This lifts Alter and the home’s designer, Andy Thomson, and indeed Canadian sustainable design, to the top ranks of the exploding eco-industry. Why? Take a look at the miniHome’s energy conserving features:

All miniHomes feature a standalone, renewables-ready, hybrid propane-electric* energy system, which consists of:

  • A 2kW sine-wave inverter – handles all plug loads, offering conventional household 110V AC power, for household appliances.
  • 400 amp-hours of sealed, gel-battery storage – enough to get you through the grey and/or windless days
  • AC/DC Breaker and Fusepanel, all lights, pumps and fans run on 12VDC – saving even more energy
  • Fridge, Range, Furnace and Hot Water are fuelled by propane, from 2×30lb bottles located outside
  • Space heating is provided by the passive solar design (if site orientation permits) and a forced-air, 10,000 Btu furnace, with heat recovery from our passive HRV. * Hot water is delivered by a 13 gallon Suburban water heater. Refrigeration is handled with a 3-way (propane/ac/dc) refrigerator, and cooking is done with a 3-burner stainless, slide-in range with sealed burners and an oven. The furnace, hot-water heater, range and fridge all feature piezo-electric ignition.

    Cooling is also achieved passively by means of high volume exhaust, low air inlets, breathing/rainscreen cladding and naturally by our roofgarden. Only brutally, arid, or jungle – humid climates may require an additional cooling unit.


Now, all of those energy saving stats may have made you think that living in a miniHome is like living in a laboratory. Far from it. Thomson used his knowledge of modern, attractive design to make this a comfortable, well-considered home. That it is also environmentally leading-edge and affordable – prices start at just over $100k – makes it irresistible. Think of it as a Smart Car for living and you will be on the right track.
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[email this story] Posted by R Ouellette on 09/29 at 10:06 AM

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