Ontario’s “Home Sweet Home” Student Challenge announces 2013 winners

    Live demo of straw-bale wall construction with Tina and Deni of Camel's Back Construction at Ottawa Convention Centre
    Live demo of straw-bale wall construction with Tina and Deni of Camel’s Back Construction at Ottawa Convention Centre

    OntarioGreenSpec.ca’s bi-annual Student Challenge has been in full swing for the past year, and students from colleges and universities across Ontario have been competing to design a “Home Sweet Home” for political comedian Rick Mercer to live in… right in the Prime Minister’s back yard!

    Home Sweet Home gives students a special design challenge once every two years, based on a real person who needs to live in a real home, but the rules add a few important twists. Designs need to be energy efficient, environmentally responsible, buildable, and attractive. And the judges are tough, like Peter Love, the first chief energy conservation officer of Ontario.”I was honoured to have served on the first jury panel of the (2011) Home Sweet Home Competition. … Awards such as this one are one of the best ways to shine the spotlight on the leaders,” Love said.

    Student designs came in from all over the province, with the University of Toronto and Algonquin College submitting the most. Western, Waterloo, and Guelph joined them in the finalists. Designs included everything from modular homes to phase-changing materials to all manners of energy saving nicknacks: tripple-glazed windows, heat pumps, air tight construction, and much more.

    Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson was on hand to deliver his personal congratulations as well, not missing the opportunity to encourage his own Ottawa students: “I’m hoping Algonquin will win!” he said. Rick Mercer sent his congratulations by video, saying “I am thrilled that you’ve designed such beautiful and energy efficient granny flats for me to move into on the grounds of 24 Sussex. Dr., and I am certain that the Prime Minister is equally as excited by the notion of us living so close together.” Joining in the humour of the challenge, Mayor Watson said that he’d gladly change the zoning at the Prime Minister’s property to permit Mercer to be neighbours with Harper if they wished.

    Of all the entries received from across the province, the top 10 were named finalists in March, and the top three winning teams for this year were announced  at the Ottawa Living Green Expo:

    First place: Eco-House, from the University of Toronto (by Amanda Cirinna and Steven Goldstine)

    Second place: Resilient Home, from Western University (by Randy Van Straaten, Dimuth Kurukulaarachchi, Sara Martinez, and Nichole Baczynski)

    Third place: Sol House, from Algonquin College (by Daniel Heffner, Richard Ramirez, Jie Li and German Osuna)

    Other finalists, in alphabetical order, include:

    100 Mile Home, University of Waterloo

    Goldilocks Home, University of Toronto

    Green Line, Algonquin College

    MTM Eco Habitats, Algonquin College

    Riverside Escape, University of Guelph

    Royal Garden Suite Home, Algonquin College

    All 10 of the finalist designs were on display at the Ottawa Convention Centre along with the home building industry`s award winning homes from across Canada, including samples from Ottawa’s Minto and RND Construction. Visitors were given information on everything from where to buy efficient new homes (Minto), where to get grants that can help you save energy on your current home (local utility Hydro Ottawa), where to find a good renovator (RND Construction), and Camel’s Back Construction gave live demonstrations of how to insulate homes with straw bales and clay.

    Industry partners included: Enbridge Gas Distribution, Mindscape Innovations, Hydro Ottawa, Minto, BASF (WALLTITE Eco), Dimplex, Greenscape Building Consultants,  non-profit partners including the Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC), Ontario Sustainable Energy Association (OSEA), Ontario Home Builders Association (OHBA), Net-Zero Energy Housing Coalition (NZEHC), Interior Designers of Canada (IDC), and media partners including SAB Homes, the Canadian Journal of Green Building Design and Construction, Alternatives Journal, and the Construction News and Report Group (publishers of Ontario Construction Report.)

    The Home Sweet Home Competition is a non-profit project of OntarioGreenSpec.ca sponsored by the above parties to spur innovation, to inspire Ontario’s students in construction design programs, and to celebrate the successful things happening in Ontario’s growing green building sectors.


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