Tiny House Looks to Expand Future of Sustainable Design Under an overhang of Carleton University’s Architecture Building, an interdisciplinary team of fourth year engineering and design students are developing sustainable solutions from the ground up. Small in size but ambitious in scope, a unique 220-square- foot tiny house has taken shape on campus over the past year, designed to optimize energy and water efficiency and take advantage of a variety of smart home technologies. Known as Northern Nomad, the student-developed and constructed tiny home is part of a global movement that’s pushing for a return to sustainable living by minimizing our residential footprint and dependency on fossil fuels. “Northern Nomad strives to demonstrate that an Ottawa home modelled around reducing its imprint can achieve net-zero energy success,” explains associate professor Scott Bucking, who is overseeing the project as a cross-appointee of both the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and the Azrieli School of Architecture and Urbanism. “Our goal is for the home to produce enough renewable energy on site to meet or even exceed its energy needs on an annual basis.” Under Bucking’s supervision, Northern Nomad was initially conceptualized in the fall of 2016 as a fourth year Capstone design project for a small group of Architectural Conservation and Sustainability Engineering students. Beginning this past September, an expanded team of students from a range of engineering and design programs has been building upon the success of the previous year, finalizing construction and shifting the project towards its instrumentation phase. “This year’s multidisciplinary team will largely be examining two key areas of focus,” says Bucking. “One group will be evaluating the trade-offs between the home’s architectural design and engineering systems. The other will be able to give us an idea about the carbon payback of a tiny house.” Unlike nearly half of Canadian households, Northern Nomad will not use natural gas for heating. Instead, warmth will be generated by a combination of renewable energy sources and heat pumps which utilize the sun’s energy in order to heat air and water within the home. Additional energy-friendly features of the unit include 8 carleton.ca/engineering-design Photo: Chris Roussakis