Queen’s Solar Education Centre : Showcasing Green Building Technologies

By: Craig Stephens (York Sustainable Enterprise Consultants)

The Queen’s Solar Design Team, established in 1988, is a multidisciplinary team of Queen’s University students currently building a fully autonomous home on Queen’s campus, which they have named the Queen’s Solar Education Centre (QSEC).

The Queen’s Solar Design Team has a history of solar success – in 2000 the team designed and created solar vehicles, one of which set a Guinness World Record for the longest journey in a solar vehicle. In 2013, they participated in the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon together with Carleton University and Algonquin College, where they won 1st place in Engineering.

This project takes a technical, real-world approach as it gives students hands-on experience with building and managing a green building project. The building will serve as a demonstration home where community members can tour and learn more about sustainable technologies. It will also serve as a research hub for green building and solar technology.

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The project is one with many challenges since their objective is to operate completely off-grid. This means that the team needs to innovate and find ways to provide the house’s residents with water, electricity, and heat – which can be especially difficult since Canadian winter temperatures often fall below -20 degrees Celsius.

The goals of this project are to educate students and the community, showcase and test new leading edge technologies, and to see more green buildings like these in Canada. Therefore, showing that these buildings are more than possible.

The team is very thankful for the generous support of their sponsors that allow them to do what they are doing. Many companies, both international (Coca Cola) and local (Glen Supply), have supported them by generously donating their time, money, and products.

People can get involved by visiting and taking a tour of the QSEC, and sharing in their story. The organization is also always looking for student volunteers to get involved with both their building and education initiatives. The project seeks to impact the future by showing visitors different technologies that they can implement into their own homes, so that their vision of a sustainable future can become a reality.

The Queen’s Solar Education Centre is part of Green Energy Doors Open. Queen’s Solar Design Team will be opening their doors Sunday September 11 from noon to 5pm. Come out to the beautiful Queen’s campus and tour the best in green building design and technology.

To learn more about the design team and their projects visit: www.qsdt.net

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