Two move into sustainable home, which doubles as a lab

Main bedroom of the West Home, a model sustainable home in Vancouver that will work as an energy-efficiency laboratory, thanks to two live-in occupants over the next year. (Photo courtesy 

Jennifer Young

VANCOUVER – Earlier this week, Ura Jones and Mike Higgins moved into West House, a model sustainable home that's also a research lab.

West House will provide more energy than it uses through insulation, a heat-recovery ventilation system and two types of solar energy.

West House tenants Mike Higgins (middle) and Ura Jones join Team Power Smart. 

BC Hydro is working together with Simon Fraser University’s School of Interactive Arts and Technology on the project. SFU has designed an adaptive-living interface system so that the couple can track and adjust their energy consumption.

West House's  various solar technologies, coupled with the consumption feedback that SFU is tracking, will help BC Hydro understand human behaviour in a conservation context and how a home can use less electricity.

Jones and Higgins will maintain a detailed log of their sustainable-living consumption, achievements and challenges over the year they're renting West House from SFU. This will provide valuable feedback about how well West House’s green technologies enable the couple to maintain zero energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.

Studies have shown that people reduce energy consumption when they have access to better and current information.

Also involved in the project are the City of Vancouver and the Government of Canada through the Western Diversification Program.

Jennifer Young works with BC Hydro media relations.