Nova Scotia

Cape Breton's coal mining homes get 'green' twist

A new seniors development in Glace Bay is modelled on the town's coal mining history, but will rely on sustainable energy.

A new seniors development in Glace Bay is modelled on the town's coal mining history, but will rely on sustainable energy.

The brightly-colored rowhouses are built to look like the 19th and early 20th century originals, but use geothermal heat, wind power and solar energy.

"It's completely self-sufficient. It will produce more heat, energy and electricity than it consumes," said Luciano Lisi, the developer.

The $2 million complex will sell excess energy back to Nova Scotia Power and Lisi said the tenants will see the benefits.

The federal government loaned the developers $500,000.

The cost of heat and lights is expected to be much lower than in traditional units.

"If oil prices go through the roof, if Nova Scotia Power triples its rates, which they will over time, our rates will stay constant," Lisi said.

The last coal mine closed in Glace Bay more than a decade ago, but Lisi's wife, Christine Kavanagh, says seniors want to stay in their community.

"A lot of people don't want to leave their neighbourhoods. They would be happy with a facility like this that they could access it. And you know, it's a beautiful location, the ocean is nearby."

Lisi said the first units will be ready by October.

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