A team of students at the University of Calgary has designed a solar-powered home that produces as much energy as it consumes.
The Technological Residence, Traditional Living, or TRTL, is pronounced “turtle” and, in fact, resembles a tortoise shell. More important, it offers an alternative to the poorly constructed homes found in indigenous communities of the North-housing that not only falls short of modern building standards but also fails to accommodate the traditional lifestyles and values of aboriginal peoples. “The scarcity of housing for the exponentially increasing First Nations population is a major concern,” says the Ven. Sid Black, archdeacon for Naive ministries in the diocese of Calgary. “This project offers a durable, fire-resistant and mould-resistant alternative.”
The $300,000, 1,000-square-foot structure was designed in collaboration with the Treaty 7 First Nations of Southern Alberta and has been blessed by Reg Crowshoe, former chief of the Piikani Nation.
The home is intended for a young family, with two bedrooms and a large, flexible social space centred on cooking and eating. Its modular design allows for easy expansion or contraction, as family needs change, and its low, shell-like profile fits in with the foothills and plains of western Canada.
The design project goes by the name of Spo’pi, which means “turtle” in the Blackfoot language.