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Photo of North House on the National Mall at Solar Decathlon 2009. Enlarge image

Team Ontario/BC's North House placed fourth overall at Solar Decathlon 2009.
(Credit: Jim Tetro/U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon)

Photo of West House surrounded by skyscrapers in Vancouver. Enlarge image

Team Ontario/BC's North House inspired West House, pictured here. While West House went to the Winter 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, North House now resides permanently near the University of Waterloo campus.
(Credit: Lyn Bartram/City of Vancouver)

Who: Team Ontario/BC
What: North House
North House
rare Charitable Research Reserve
1679 Blair Rd.
Cambridge, ON N3H 4R8
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West House
East Vancouver Cedar Cottage Community Garden
2009 Stainsbury Ave.
Vancouver, BC
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Public tours: Not available

Solar Decathlon 2009

Team Ontario/BC: Inspiring Sustainability From North to West

Following the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2009, Team Ontario/BC's North House was to travel more than 4,000 km (2,500 mi) to Vancouver for the 2010 Winter Olympics. Unfortunately, the cost of moving and rebuilding the house ultimately prevented this. Instead, North House returned to the University of Waterloo. On June 6, 2013, it reopened at its permanent home at the rare Charitable Research Reserve as a research and outreach facility.

Team Ontario/BC—made up of faculty and students from the University of Waterloo, Ryerson University, and Simon Fraser University—collaborated to construct North House for the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2009. Its entry took fourth place in the competition with top-five finishes in seven of the 10 decathlon contests.

And although North House didn't make it to the Olympics, the team's Olympic dream didn't die. Lyn Bartram, assistant professor at Simon Fraser University and co-leader of Team Ontario/BC for Solar Decathlon 2009, wanted to continue spreading the team's proof-of-concept design despite the limitations imposed by long-distance relocation. Working closely with the City of Vancouver's sustainable development program, Bartram hatched a plan to build another solar house in Vancouver modeled after North House.

The resulting project, named West House, was successfully built in just three months, thanks to a partnership that included industry, government, and academia. After showcasing North House-inspired technology at the Olympics, West House moved to a permanent location in East Vancouver's Cedar Cottage Community Garden.

"The resulting project demonstrates that the sustainable home of the future is not so far away. In the next few years, we expect that this exciting partnership … will blaze new territory in how to advance sustainable homes," states the West House website.

Simon Fraser University researchers are currently monitoring West House through a research grant funded by Graphics, Animation, and New Media Canada.