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Climate Change ‘Superheroes-In-Training’ Make a Trip to Harmony House

“I have never seen such a cool house like Harmony House” wrote Mikaela, after a field trip to the house on January 27th. Mikaela is a Grade 6 student at Suncrest Elementary school in Mark Pierlot’s class in Burnaby.

She was not alone in her admiration, as several of her classmates expressed a similar excitement about the sustainably designed home. Harmony House is one of the winning entries in the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s (CMHC) EquilibriumTM Sustainable Housing Demonstration Initiative – a national initiative to design, build and demonstrate sustainable homes throughout Canada.

The newly-purchased home resides in a well-established Burnaby neighbourhood, and has been host to a number of public tours over the past few weeks.

As a 3-storey, 4,714 sq. ft. home, the house has been the target of recent controversy over whether a house of this size should be considered sustainable. Still, it is difficult not to marvel at the truly unique and innovative architectural design of the home that is set to be in ‘harmony’ with the Earth.

Many of the students in Mr. Pierlot’s class particularly liked that most of the house was made out of recycled materials. Grade 6 student Jaylyn wrote how she “liked the kitchens and floors because she likes the feeling of recycled products”.

Anu commented on how he “liked the wall that was made out of an old bridge from Vancouver Island” and also that Harmony House “saves energy… because if we save energy now we will have a healthy environment and planet”.

Naujot, liked that “all the appliances were used by the solar system panels” and several other students were fond of the passive house design which had an abundance of south-facing windows, intended to absorb the sun’s rays and heat the house.

The field trip, hosted by the CMHC and the BCSEA (BC Sustainable Energy Association), was the perfect precursor to the BCSEA’s Climate Change Showdown workshop that took place back in the classroom later that morning. During the workshop, students started their rigorous training to become ‘Climate Change Superheroes’.

Mr. Pierlot’s class was guided through a vision of 30 years in the future, where they were able to explore different green jobs and solutions to climate change. Students also learned about the science of climate change, and brainstormed different ways to reduce their carbon footprint and energy consumption at home.

At the end of the workshop, students were left with a contest, outlining a number of different energy-saving and greenhouse gas-reducing actions to be completed at home over the next four weeks.

After visiting Harmony House, Grade 6 student Emmett, wrote that “We need to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions”. Emmett definitely got that one right and Harmony House is, without a doubt, a step in the right direction.

All in all, the day was a success, and the Mr. Pierlot’s Grade 5/6 class was left inspired and prepared to take action. A huge thank-you goes out the Suncrest Elementary and the continued support from CMHC who has funded the Climate Change Showdown for the past 5 years.

For more information see http://www.harmony-house.ca/project.html