Cape Breton Man Builds EnergySaving Home

first_imgCape Breton resident John Ross had a mission when he built hisnew home: he wanted to build a house that uses alternativeenergy. But he achieved much more, including a national awardfrom the federal Department of Natural Resources for the mostenergy efficient home in Canada in 2004. The Richmond County home uses less energy, produces lesspollution and was no more expensive to build than any similar-sized home in the area. The 2,000 square-foot bungalow containsthree bedrooms, an attached garage, as well as special modulesfor electricity and active solar panels for heat and hot water. “The key to helping to preserve the environment is for people totreat the outside as if it was a favourite birthday present youreceived when you were young,” says Mr. Ross. “Do not destroy ordirty anything that is in the air or on the ground.” Not only is he following his passion and saving energy at thesame time, this homeowner is also saving money. Mr. Ross, whoclosely tracks his hydro and propane bills, estimates that hesaves $1,500 per year compared to a similar home using an oil-fired furnace and the province’s electrical grid. He says a solarwater heating system alone will cut the cost of a domestic hotwater bill by as much as 60 per cent. Environment and Labour Minister Kerry Morash says Mr. Ross setsan example for others to follow not only this week, EnvironmentWeek (May 30 to June 5), but all year. “I would like tocongratulate Mr. Ross on his entrpreneurial skills that help makeour environment a cleaner place,” the minister said. “We’realways pleased to see homes being built in our province that helpconserve energy and protect the environment.” The Ross home was built with high-efficiency windows on the southside, allowing the sun to pour in. Solar collectors on the roof,also facing south, heat a liquid that is pumped through tubing inthe insulated floor. In the floor, a central fan forces the heatinto heating ducts throughout the house, distributing heat toeach room. In the summer the process is reversed to help cool thehome. Mr. Ross’s life-long passion for energy grew in the early 1980s,when he was studying solar-power theory and technologies at theUniversity of Minnesota. There he met other enthusiasts fromacross North America, who helped fuel his desire to promote theuse of alternative energy. This summer he will lend his expertiseto two more construction projects. “The trend to move to energy-saving buildings is not going tohappen overnight,” says Mr. Ross. “But the new homeowner whowants to build this type of home can find good information outthere. This type of home is just as easy to build as any otherplan you can pick out of a glossy home-building book.”last_img read more