Saskatoon

New community near Saskatoon to create zero-carbon environmental footprint

If architect Gary Marvin gets his way, a new development located just east of Wanuskewin Heritage Park will lead the way for low environmental footprints in the province.

Architect to pitch sustainable community to city committee today

The province's first solar home, Saskatchewan Conservation House, built in 1977. Similar passive-heating homes would be built in the proposed development. (Photo courtesy Harold Orr)

If architect Gary Marvin gets his way, a new development located just east of Wanuskewin Heritage Park will lead the way for low environmental footprints in the province.

Currently called the Buffalo Ranch, the development will use energy efficient building methods to create a "zero-carbon footprint" for the community.

In an interview with CBC Radio's Saskatoon Morning, Marvin said he has already received an endorsement from the Rural Municipality of Corman Park, but due to its proximity to the city, Marvin felt it was important to check in with the City of Saskatoon as well.

"We would very much appreciate it if the bureaucracies at play do not act in an impedimental way," he said. "We are not asking or demanding for finances from any level of government, beyond what they already offer the average developers."

Marvin's goal is to dramatically reduce the energy used by houses in the development, in part, through the use of passive solar heating, a concept that uses large strategically placed windows to help heat the house. The buildings will also be "superinsulated", will have 100% airtight construction and use heat recovery and ventilation units to recapture 85 per cent of the heat of outgoing ventilated air.

The first passive houses were built in Saskatchewan.

"40 years ago, Harold Orr and his team developed the first passive house in the world," he said. "There are 30,000 passive buildings in Europe. Ironically, not Canada. This sort of science is well-recognized in other parts of the world."

Marvin said the environmentally friendly building concepts should save money, which can then be used to build more energy-efficient houses.

"The main way to save money is by looking at new ways of providing water and sewer services at a significantly lower cost than the conventional way of doing it," he said. "And taking those services and reapplying it, where we're recycling water in a cost-effective manner, and providing clean, potable water that's better quality than you get out of any pipe out of Saskatoon."

If everything goes according to plan, the development will contain 2,000 housing units after 10 years.

Corrections

  • An earlier version of this story said that the development had received approval from the RM of Corman Park. It has received an endorsement. As well, the development is hoping there will be 2,000 housing units built over 10 years, not eight.
    Jun 13, 2016 10:16 AM CT