North House to Showcase solar innovation in Washington

WATERLOO, Ont. (Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2009) – One of only two Canadian teams in an international competition to develop a prefabriacted solar home will introduce their entry in Toronto this weekend – before boxing it up and shipping it to Washington D.C.

Team North – comprised of students and faculty from the University of Waterloo, Ryerson University and Simon Fraser University, along with industry partners – is one of only two Canadian finalist entries selected to participate in the prestigious 2009 Solar Decathlon competition, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

The Solar Decathlon will be held from Oct. 9 to 18 on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., featuring 20 university-based teams from around the world and their prototype solar homes. The teams must each erect full-scale houses within seven days, then compete across 10 categories measuring design quality, energy efficiency and operational performance.

Team North has developed North House – a marketable solar-powered home for people with active lifestyles. The team has combined green building, solar and interactive technologies with advanced manufacturing techniques in order to reduce energy demand, foster a conservation ethic and boost the quality of life for Canadians. 

“North House will offer powerful solutions for the future by combining reduced energy consumption with a robust capacity to produce its own energy from renewable solar resources.” said Maun Demchenko, Team North’s director of public relations. “North House will serve as a vehicle for teaching the public about solar technologies and how they can be used in new and existing housing. It will showcase new sustainable green construction building practices and Canadian design innovation on a world stage. It is an honor to represent our country and our various disciplines in this event.” 

North House, deploying the latest in energy-efficient technologies and sustainable materials, will demonstrate how design can reduce energy use while occupants maintain a high quality of life. Such an integrated approach to construction draws on an array of building components and systems to create a more comfortable building, produce energy and reduce environmental impacts.

“The North House project has stimulated a range of research initiatives, that will be physically tested in the prototype home,” said Geoffrey Thün, University of Waterloo faculty lead and primary investigator for the project. “Over the course of this work, we have developed new window and shading systems, advanced digital controls that enable owners to interact more meaningfully with their homes, and examined the potential for new forms of prefabricated housing to offer a sustainable alternative to current housing.”

Unlike most other competitors, Team North will continue for several years after the competition. Team members will conduct long-term monitoring and testing on the house prototype. They will implement the new technologies and research the designs with industry partners in Canada, aiming to bring a solar house to market in the near future.” 

Before North House travels to Washington, Team North will host a send off celebration showcasing the completed house, the team and the sponsors from 2 to 6 p.m. on Sunday, September 20, at the offices of MCM 2001 Inc. (70 Industry Street, Toronto). Members of the media are also welcome on Monday morning, as the team begins disassembling North House for shipping to Washington.

About Team North and North House

Team North’s mission is to design and deliver North House, a compelling, marketable solar powered home for mobile, sustainable lifestyles, while also building Canada’s next generation of leaders in sustainable engineering, business and design. The team involves students and faculty from the school of interactive arts and technology at Simon Fraser; the departments of architectural science and mechanical engineering at Ryerson; as well as the school of architecture, department of civil and environmental engineering, and the department of mechanical and mechatronics engineering at Waterloo. For more information please visit

 About the University of Waterloo

In just half a century, the University of Waterloo, located at the heart of Canada’s Technology Triangle, has become one of Canada’s leading comprehensive universities with 28,000 full- and part-time students in undergraduate and graduate programs. Waterloo, as home to the world’s largest post-secondary co-operative education program, embraces its connections to the world and encourages enterprising partnerships in learning, research and discovery. In the next decade, the university is committed to building a better future for Canada and the world by championing innovation and collaboration to create solutions relevant to the needs of today and tomorrow. For further details, visit

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Maun Demchenko, director of public relations, Team North,
519-841-0965 or

Heather Kearney, Ryerson public affairs, 416-979-5000 ext.4282 or 

Simon Fraser public affairs & media relations, 778-782-3210 

Michael Strickland, Waterloo media relations, 519-888-4777 or

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