Ingenious - Winter 2018 9 storage tanks located beneath its floor which can hold up to 900 litres of purified water distilled from the air, as well as a photovoltaic array of solar panels spanning its roof with the potential to supply excess generated electricity to the provincial grid. While Northern Nomad’s small size simplifies many of the complexities involved in building an energy efficient home, Bucking notes that one of the biggest challenges facing the tiny house movement is convincing people that they don’t need giant floorplans. “Collectively, our homes are taking up much more urban space than they have in the past,” he explains. “For example, the average size of a new build in the United States in 2015 was nearly 2,700 square feet — more than 1,000 square feet larger than they were forty years ago, even though the average number of people living under one roof in the U.S. has dropped from 3 to 2.5 over that same timespan.” While the collective efforts of dedicated students have resulted in minimal labour costs for the project, bringing even a very small house from concept to reality still carries considerable material costs – in the case of Northern Nomad, amounting to roughly $80,000. Thankfully, the tiny home caught the attention of Ottawa’s Borealis Foundation, a sustainability-oriented non-profit which provided a substantial portion of the project’s budget. Over the past five years, the Borealis Foundation has been supporting a number of environmental initiatives at Carleton, including Capstone projects, scholarships for engineering students and the Solar Decathlon. “We believe that education is a powerful tool and a way to enact change,” says the foundation’s president, Janet Lefebvre. “We also want to focus on local communities and to make a difference in our own backyard.” Bucking also managed to secure contributions of free or at-cost materials from an array of suppliers, including JELD- WEN, Insultech Insulation Specialists Inc., Manotick’s Wood Source Inc. and the Canadian Urethane Foam Contractors Association, as well as support from Canadian green energy supplier Bullfrog Power. Once completed, Northern Nomad will remain on campus for a period of one year beside Carleton’s Urbandale Centre for Home Energy Research, where students will monitor the home’s performance over the fall and winter. Bucking is eager to analyze the data, knowing there’s much to be learned even if the majority of people aren’t ready to downsize just yet. “The tiny house movement isn’t for everyone and that’s understandable,” he says. “Fundamental changes in building design typically occur gradually and our goal is not to shift an industry from one extreme to another. Instead, we’re looking to provide a pool of data which can be applied towards building smarter and more efficient homes for the future.” Once completed, the 220-square-foot tiny home will be equipped with a number of smart features designed to minimize the unit’s energy needs. (Photo courtesy Scott Bucking) Photo: Chris Roussakis