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North House, Canada’s award-winning entry to the 2009 International Solar Decathlon, and a $4 million research investment at the University of Waterloo, found a permanent home at rare, where it can provide cutting-edge engineering technology research –– accessible to even the youngest students –– along with in-residence accommodation and a tangible way to let the community experience sustainable design and technology. It’s a solar-powered, working model of green technology –– generating more energy than it consumes –– whose performance is monitored under a range of real-life conditions that educate the public and students through the Every Child Outdoors (ECO) program on the benefits of compact, sustainable living. It’s also where Indigenous artistic inquiry can be fostered when it serves as a home for several months of the year for rare’s Eastern Comma Artists-in-Residence program.
In research at rare, North House is a prototype to test systems and assemblies; to monitor its performance under a range of real-life conditions. North House has been called a living lab to be used to continually test the limits of performance of systems and materials, investigating new and innovative technologies, and to develop a set of responsible parameters for the design of homes in the natural and urban landscapes.
In its new location, solar energy generated by North House powers both the building and the Springbank farmhouse on the rare reserve.
North House is just one of many examples demonstrating the richness of combining nature, art and culture while promoting healthy water, soil, air and the diversity of plants and animals and human kind.