Tuesday, 26 June 2007

The Greenest House in Canada is in the Middle of Montreal

Park Avenue is one of Montreal’s major north-south routes from downtown to the inner suburbs. It passes through the fringes of Mont Royal Park, hence its name. Once upon a time—about 80 years ago—it was lined with elegant townhouses and upscale apartment houses. That has changed: long ago it became an immigrant corridor and north of the Park it now is a bustling, multi-ethnic business district. (For more about Park Avenue, including the struggle to save its name, check out the Urbanphoto.net. )

Some of the old houses remain, however. Most have been transformed into flats with shops on the first floor, but one has become the greenest house in Canada and one of the greenest in North America. Emmanuel Cosgrove, a full-time environmentalist, has just received a Platinum rating from the US Green Building Council in its LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design ) program. Only four projects have achieved the rating.

The house is heated and cooled through a geothermal system, which pumps warmth from the ground in the winter and relative coolness in summer. It recuperates gray water from the kitchen and shower to flush toilets and irrigate the green roof. Among its other features are hardwood floors and woodwork which was recycled from demolition sites, while the slate floor of the entry is made from old school blackboards, cut into large squares.

Cosgrove told the Montreal French-language daily Le Devoir that he hopes his house will inspire others to reduce energy consumption and think green when it comes to construction methods. Certainly his example shows that living in a newly “green” house is possible in the center city, where you can also take advantage of the environmentally aspects of urban density like public transport.

No comments: