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Introduction: As time and resources allow, we will feature some of our most interesting projects in summary format to get a retrospective update on their evolution.

Table of Contents

Project #1: Alberta Sustainable Home/Office
Project #2: Alpine Hut

Research & Development
1. Advanced Sustainable Home

Project #1: Alberta Sustainable Home/Office (completed in March 1994):
This compact 170 m2 demonstration home/office in suburban Calgary Alberta was the first sustainable, autonomous and energy-credit home built in Canada.

It does not use the city gas line, water line or sewer line. It has no furnace or boiler. It relies on conservation energy, internal heat gain (body and appliance heat) and solar energy (passive and active). Its only backup heating system is a multipurpose masonry heater during cold weather. It is integrated into the electrical grid to export clean green energy in the future.

Its construction in 1993-1994, saved 225 Alberta trees and an estimated 70% of all construction waste. Today, after 10 years of continuous use, it uses about 0.75 wh/DD/m2 of purchased energy costing about $200 annually, and saves 210 GJ of natural gas (100% reduction), 331,000 litres of water (100% reduction), 211,00 litres of sewage (100% reduction), 4,900 kwh of coal-generated electricity (74% reduction) and 49 kg of household garbage (92% reduction) through prudent use of resources, renewable energy and a conserver lifestyle.

It has been used by by many for different purposes: politicians for photo opportunities, builders to borrow ideas, clients to survey possibilities, students for internships, voluteers for career change opportunities, groups as a meeting site and neighbours as a community centre.

It has received 5 national/iinternational awards and citations. It has been presented at many conferences and had about 70 articles written internationally. About 220 partners from industry, government and NGOs were involved in the application of healthy materials and green products.

Some of the technical highlights include: a 5-pane prototype window with a U-Value of 0.06 (believed to still be the highest insulated window in the world at this time); a waterless toilet; 3 greywater recycling systems including the smallest "solar aquatic" system in the world; slab-on-grade construction; shallow foundation; the "Airtight Drywall Approach" to airtightness and vapour retardation; cellulose insulation for airtightness, firestops and recycled content; a Thermomax solar hot water collector for both space and water heating; healthy materials including "Medite II" and Phoenix Biocomposite"; and several forms of lighting technology including LEDs, electroluminescence, and CFL.

The lessons of this project and previous work since 1976 are the basis of concepts, materials, products, and technologies for other on-going projects. Private tours are available for a charge and by appointment.

Previous media coverage: This project has been covered in about 70 articles worldwide on TV, radio, newspapers, journals & textbooks. 70,000 visitors, many foreign delegations and thousands of students have visited it. It is the 4th EcoBuilding demonstration project for the public viewing for partners Helen and Jorg Ostrowski, since 1976.

Project #2: Alpine Hut
Note: Click on an image to open a higher resolution version.

Front View
Alpine Hut - Front
© Jorg Ostrowski 1992

Side View
Alpine Hut - Side
© Jorg Ostrowski 1992

Top View
Alpine Hut - Top
© Jorg Ostrowski 1992


1. Advanced Sustainable Home
Note: Click on an image to open a higher resolution version.

Main Floor Plan Attic Floor Plan
Summary Sheets 1 & 2

© Jorg Ostrowski 2003. All rights reserved.

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Principals: Jorg Ostrowski, M. Arch. (M.I.T.), B. Arch. (Toronto), Helen Ostrowski, B. S. Arch. (U.S.T.)
28 years in "Real World" professional Green Building practice, new & retrofit, 4 residential/commercial Demonstration Projects completed