Western Engineering students place second in Ontario's "Home Sweet Home" Student Challenge

Home Sweet Home Western Team

(L to R) Jim Watson (Mayor of Ottawa), Nicole (Aga) Baczynski, Tim Moerman (Planner from the City of Ottawa), Dimuth Kurukulaarachchi, Randy Van Straaten, and Michelle Cote (Enbridge).

Western Engineering News | June 11, 2013

A group of engineering students from Western University participated in OntarioGreenSpec.ca’s bi-annual Student Challenge to design a hypothetical “Home Sweet Home” for political comedian Rick Mercer to live in.

The design competition was open to all full-time post-secondary and post-graduate students in Ontario.

The Western team, consisting of Randy Van Straaten, Dimuth Kurukulaarachchi, Sara Martinez, and Nichole Baczynski, worked over the course of year to design a sustainable home for Mercer.

“We focused on cost effective and necessary measure to meet what we called a resilient design,” says Randy Van Straaten.  “A resilient design would support the broader economic, social, and environmental resiliency of society while being livable on it’s own during all conditions include natural and man made disasters.”

Van Straaten adds, “We did extensive research to understand and apply current approaches to net zero houses while developing some additional innovative measures.  Personally, the exercise gave me the opportunity to explore housing concepts I’ve been thinking about for years.”

Of all the entries received from across the province, the top 10 finalists were named in March, and the top three winning teams for this year were announced at the Ottawa Living Green Expo:

First place: Eco-House, from the University of Toronto (by Amanda Cirinna and Steven Goldstine)

Second place: Resilient Home, from Western University (by Randy Van Straaten, Dimuth Kurukulaarachchi, Sara Martinez, and Nichole Baczynski)

Third place: Sol House, from Algonquin College (by Daniel Heffner, Richard Ramirez, Jie Li and German Osuna)

Home Sweet Home is a non-profit social enterprise, hosted by OntarioGreenSpec.ca, an online green building directory serving all of Ontario.

The Student Challenge was created to engage Ontario’s post-secondary students in the research, innovation, and adoption of green building techniques.