By Cathy Dobson, www.theobserver.ca The Observer
A so-called smart house outfitted with the latest energy-efficient technology will be built at Lambton College this year.
College officials say it will serve as a unique working lab for students as well as a resource for the community.
Sarnia-Lambton MP Pat Davidson was at the college Friday to announce the federal government will contribute $550,660 toward the $1.2 million cost of construction.
The federal grant is from the Community Adjustment Fund, set up to stimulate the economy during the recession, Davidson said.
“Lambton College leads the way in innovation and renewable energy, and this sustainable smart house will be a great resource to evaluate all of these new technologies,” she said. “I really look forward to seeing this project go ahead.”
President Tony Hanlon called the house a working lab for several college programs, including alternative energy and construction students.
It will open periodically to allow the public to see the latest innovations and determine how they might incorporate new technology in their own homes, he said.
“This project adds to the strategic direction this community is taking in going green.”
Design work for the smart house took the better part of two years, said Henry Reiser, Dean of Technology.
“This is very good news. A lot of people have put a great deal of effort into it.”
The house will be built on the northwest side of the campus, near the Early Childhood Education day-care centre.
It will incorporate geothermal heating, solar panels, a grass or moss roof and will be continually updated.
“One of the really interesting, state-of-the-art features is a steel solar thermal wall,” Reiser said. A Velix skylight with an electronic shade will be installed to detect the inside temperature and automatically vent hot air.
An interior thermal brick wall will moderate temperature and numerous kinds of insulation will be used, he said.
The house is being built with materials donated by several industries, as well as a $150,000 cash donation from Suncor Energy.
That, combined with the federal grant, should see the smart house open this winter.
Observer Article ID# 2528179