Here comes the sun!

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Solar panels are on the rooftops of all our buildings at Treehouse Village. Our eco-friendly homes are almost ready! Photo by Treehouse Villager Emma Savage. Drone photo courtesy of Vince Casey.

By Allyson Rowley, Community Reporter

Have you heard of Treehouse Village Ecohousing? We’re the eco-friendly, multi-age housing development located on 15 acres of forested land in Bridgewater, Nova Scotia. 

Now in the last stretch of construction, Treehouse Village is Atlantic Canada’s first cohousing community and Nova Scotia’s largest Passive House multi-residential development, dedicated to sharing resources and living lightly on the Earth.

Residents are already moving in and enjoying the benefits of this intentional community. We’re helping each other set up the internet in our new homes … we’re sharing things with our new neighbours that they might have forgotten in their moves (like soap or dish towels!) … we’re organizing noon-time yoga breaks to practice self-care during the move-in process.

And we’re celebrating a key milestone — the rooftops of all four residential buildings now have solar panels! 

Along with the solar panels already installed on top of our 4,000-sq-ft Common House and the shared workshop, Treehouse Village’s goal is to provide a large percentage of our electrical needs through solar energy — and ultimately reach net zero.

Passive House homes have great airflow and ultra-efficient insulation, so residents can expect ultra-low energy bills. And with 10 electric vehicle chargers on site and a car share program that includes 3 EVs, things are definitely looking sunny for Treehouse Village!

Want to know more about Treehouse Village’s eco-friendly, multi-age cohousing community? Book your private tour to learn about our homes for sale or rent. Virtual tours are also available.

Hard at work installing solar panels on October 1. Photo by Treehouse Villager Wayne Groszko.

2 responses to “Here comes the sun!”

  1. Hubert Den Draak

    Wondering what the solar system’s size is (in KWs) and if it’s battery-based or grid-tied. Any insights you can provide?

    1. Terry Lavender

      Thanks for the question, Hubert and apologies that it’s taken so long to answer:

      The total capacity of all the solar power systems installed at Treehouse Village is approximately 236 kW (DC). As there are 30 households in the village, this averages to 7.87 kW per household, which is fairly close to the average size of solar power systems per household being installed in Nova Scotia in general (about 8 to 10 kW).

      The whole solar power system at Treehouse Village is grid-tied and will be net-metered. However, in our Common House we will also install a grid-interactive and solar-interactive battery pack (18 kWh capacity) to provide backup power to the Common House in case of an emergency power outage. The solar panels on the Common House will be able to recharge this battery so emergency operations can continue as long as there is enough solar energy. The individual apartments at Treehouse Village will not have backup batteries, at least initially. In the event of an emergency power outage, we will use the Common House as our place to charge phones, keep lights on, maintain an internet connection, keep some essential food in the fridge and freezer, etc.

      One great thing about Treehouse Village is that the buildings are so well insulated (Passive House Standard), that if a lengthy power outage occurs in the depth of winter, the individual apartments will stay above freezing temperatures (and likely above 10 degrees C) from the solar radiation that enters the windows and the heat generated by the occupants. While such a situation would be uncomfortable, at least the pipes won’t freeze and there will be little to no damage.

      Hope that helps. Our solar expert is open to discussing the solar power system more if that would be helpful.

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