The Canadian province of Alberta has experienced massive development in recent years as industries like forestry, mining and especially energy have moved in to take advantage of the natural resources. As a result, there has been a shortage of housing and a rise in housing costs for employees stationed across the province. Students at University of Calgary and Mount Royal University in Calgary have joined together to find a solution to the problem. The result is Borealis, a sustainable modular home that can be built quickly and easily in remote locations and moved whenever the job requires.
Borealis consists of parts that are easily assembled and can be moved by truck to areas that aren’t always easy to reach. A steel structure makes up the skeleton of the home, with R-40 walls acting as the skin to keep the chilly winter out. Each module consists of central module, which contains the service portion of the home, including a kitchen, bathroom, dining and utility room. On either side of that module are two separate home areas with bedrooms, living space one side and an office on the other. When privacy is needed, these areas can be closed off using a sliding door that enters into the kitchen.
The home is powered by a 10 kw photovoltaic solar array on the roof. In the bathroom there is a living wall with an array of plants that detoxify the air. The mechanical room maintains temperature throughout the house and is responsible for collecting and distributing energy. The system even collects waste heat to use for dehumidification and heating.
The exterior design was created to live in harmony with its surroundings and reflect the beauty of the Northern Lights with its geometric shape. The home is part of the 2013 US Department of Energy Solar Decathlon, and construction on the home began in mid-May. You can follow the team’s progress on their own “Blog-ealis.”