Two Special Projects

This is a very special column for me to write because it describes two success stories, stories of ordinary people doing extraordinary things on behalf of the environment just for fun. Both stories involve filling in the dots to create things that weren’t there before. The first project is a building being constructed at I.E.Weldon Secondary School by Pete Tamlin’s construction technology class. Not only is the building designed to operate fully off grid, it is being constructed off grid mostly from recycled materials. The other project, The Summer Lakeshore Festival at Gamiing, features live music with wild, fresh food, games and displays outdoors at the Gamiing Centre.

The off grid cottage was Pete Tamlin’s idea but it is the generosity of local archetects, plumbers and builders that have made the project possible. Its concept is remarkably simple. On one hand, glycol running through vacuum tubes heats in the solar collectors on the roof and circulates through the walls and floor. On the other hand the walls boast an R50 insulation value preventing heat loss. Solar collectors also generate the electricity to be used in the cottage. But that’s not all. Pete and his class decided to build this off grid cottage off grid. This brings us just about as close as it gets to a zero footprint. Best of all they are having fun doing it.

Perhaps it is time to consider a home or extension that is heated at no cost, generates its own electricity at no cost, can be built without taxing either the electrical grid or the oil supply and is made of recycled materials as one step towards answering both the energy crisis and climate change. If you want to see the building, call Pete Tamlin at I E Weldon to arrange a tour. His excitement about his class’s project is evident as it should be. He will enjoy showing you around the site.

At The Summer Lakeshore Festival you can combine family fun, wild organic food and live entertainment against the beautiful backdrop of Gamiing Centre on Pigeon Lake. The festival runs Saturday, June 21 from 3 P.M. until dark and features The Paddling Puppeteers, SwingBridge and lots more so bring your blankets and chairs. This is an opportunity for the whole family to enjoy good food, good exercise and good entertainment together.

What I love so much about these two projects is that they combine elements of design, building, art, food, games and music as creative methods of engaging all ages in positive environmental activities. They also teach us that becoming involved is fun and a lot easier than we might think. We all should wish both groups every success as they try to build a more sustainable world. I will be away next week. See you in two weeks.

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