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David Dodge, GreenEnergyFutures.ca
Solar thermal advocates are fond of reminding us that homes, especially those in Canada use about 70 per cent of their energy for heating. As solar photovoltaic prices continue to plummet, some net-zero home builders have started pairing solar PV with air-source heat pumps for space heating and electric resistance water heaters to produce hot water.
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An earthship is an off-grid home that produces its own energy, captures its own water, treats its own wastewater, grows its own food and passively collects the sun's energy for heat. That's the idea, anyways. But ever since the Kinney Earthship was built in the summer of 2014, Duncan Kinney has received many emails about one particular subject: how does it hold up so far north?
While some might turn their noses up at the current economics of solar thermal hot water systems less developed countries without our huge natural gas grid are jumping all over the opportunity. China has by far the most installed capacity with 117,600 megawatts of domestic solar thermal hot water systems as of 2010.
Church Point, a little-known dot on the map in rural southern Nova Scotia, isn't exactly a tourist hotspot. But for sustainability nerds it's an unexpected haven. It's home to St. Anne University, or Université Sante Anne as it's called in French and it may be the greenest little university in Canada.