Canadian Students Construct Greenest Building in Nation

A green performing arts center goes up in Ontario.

| June 2008 Web

  • Putting the finishing touches on one of the straw bale walls.

Sustainable living doesn’t have to mean less comfort, beauty or performance—that’s the philosophy that guides Chris Magwood, this year’s designer and lead instructor for the Sustainable Building Design Program at Fleming College, Ontario. Students of this annual summer program have begun construction of a new, sustainable performing arts center in Madoc, Ontario.

Since 2005, students of this program have been building sustainable public buildings for host communities. The buildings mix low impact, low technology materials with high-tech mechanical and energy systems. Previous projects have included a thrift store, a food bank and a classroom.

This year’s straw bale building features geothermal heating and a large photovoltaic power system, making it free of fossil fuels and polluting emissions. Magwood, who was recently named one of Canada’s “Eco All-Stars” by Harrowsmith Magazine, has a history in straw bale building as the co-author of three instructional books on how to plan, design and build with straw.

The building, scheduled to be complete by the end of August, is expected to be the greenest building in Canada.

More about student initiatives

• High school students in Detroit take on pests without toxic chemicals and pesticides.

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