TRTL, which stands for "Technological Residence, Traditional Living", is a home designed specifically for the native peoples in Southern Alberta. Inspired by the tipi, the house has a round form and has ample space to host communal gatherings. The University of Calgary (aka Team Canada) worked closely with the native communities of Treaty 7 to design an appropriate home that respects their traditions and culture, and promotes sustainability through an arched solar roof, energy efficient systems and sustainable materials. TRTL (or "Turtle") is a modular home designed specifically for Southern Alberta, and could help alleviate housing problems for the native communities -- not to mention kick some butt in next week's Solar Decathlon.
TRTL is a semi-rounded house, which takes inspiration from the tipi’s open floorplan. Unlike most Solar Decathlon houses, TRTL is actually a two bedroom home designed specifically for a family and an extended family. The 1,000 sq ft home features two bedrooms in the back, a bathroom, a mechanical core and kitchen in the center, and an open dining and living room on the south side to soak up the sun and daylight. This open layout encourages larger gatherings allowing families to sit together or have a meal.
Environmentally friendly and durable materials are used extensively throughout to minimize maintenance and maximize longevity. All the appliances and systems are electric and energy efficient so that the entire home can run off the 8.3 kW arched solar photovoltaic system on the roof. A modular, SIP wall panel system and temporary screw pile foundation are used to construct the home, which allows for rapid and flexible assembly. The steel sub-frame assembly is wrapped in TitanWall SIPs, which are mold and fire-resistant as well as very durable.
Currently, according to Canada’s Indian Act, a permanent structure on-reservation automatically becomes part of the land, not privately owned. So there is very little incentive for the native peoples to build houses. The modular design and temporary foundation also helps bypass legal barriers to ownership on a reservation — because technically it could be relocated if necessary. This will encourage ownership, entrepreneurship and responsibility for maintenance and upgrades.