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Thinking outside the oval

The real Jetsons' house is cool -- and green

CNS/Exterior of Homerizon concept house.
CNS/The interior design allows for cozy and comfortable areas, as well as large spaces for entertaining a large number of people.

It's something we've seen for 40-plus years through the magic of television: the elevated, oval home depicted in Jetson's cartoons.

As it turns out, it took 25 years for the home of the future to become a reality. And it was conceived by a Canadian, no less.

"It's an idea that my brother and I got 25 years ago," says Montreal native Jean-Pierre Demarais. "But it's only come together over the last two years or so. We've been working hard with a designer and architect to bring the concept to life. Finally, we have a model to show people."

That model -- all of 34 inches high, and which cost the price of a small car to put together -- will be on display at The Winnipeg Green Lifestyle & Organic Living Show, which will run Sept. 11-12 at the Winnipeg Convention Centre.

Over that two-day period, earth-conscious Winnipeggers will be able to ogle Homerizon's single family concept home up-close.

What people will see is a truly futuristic home with cutting-edge technologies incorporated into its design. Technological features will include solar voltaic pane windmills, a fireplace fuelled by wood pellets, hot water and radiant floor heating (achieved by using solar panels), electrical plumbing, rainwater recovery, an autonomous drinking water system and wastewater treatment and recycling system; all systems are managed by home automation.

As cool as all the technology is, perhaps the coolest thing about Desmarais' concept home is its shape and elevation.

"It has an oval shape so it can accommodate the power equipment, primarily the windmills," explains Desmarais. "To make the home more efficient, it needs not only to have a streamlined shape, but also to be up in the air. Ideally, it should be 30 to 60 feet above ground so it's above trees so it can take advantage of the wind."

Showgoers will be pleased to know that Desmarais -- now living in New Brunswick -- will make the trip west to answer questions in person.

"We really want to get people thinking more about the environment, and to showcase renewable energy technology," he says. "These homes aren't as far away as you might think. We have interest from a golf resort in Quebec to first build a restaurant with conference room and balcony, then perhaps a hotel (10 to 12 rooms) and condominiums. We're waiting for the green light to build the restaurant."

Speaking of renewable energy, a Manitoba-based company called I Recycle will be at the show to showcase products that can be sourced from local recyclers.

"Our company is a little more than a year old," says I Recycle's front man, Jack Maendel. "We created the company to work on the behalf of recyclers, to bring all their products together in one location (online at www.irecycle.ca). Recycled products can be hard to find, so we want to act as a one-stop-shop to make them easier to access."

Maendel says there are several local recyclers who have great products to offer.

Reliable Tire Recycling (RCR) is a company that collects passenger vehicle tires from across the province, then turns them in to eco-friendly stepping stones for gardens, splash pads for eaves troughs and rubber tiles that can be put anywhere.

"A second company, X Potential, recycles items from cars -- dashes, seat stuffing, steering wheels and plastics -- and turns them into parking curbs and landscaping ties. A third, Equinox, takes recycled plastics and makes garbage containers, plants and planter reservoirs. Antex Western turns recycled glass into floor tiles and terrazo flooring," Maendel says.

The Winnipeg Green Lifestyle & Organic living show will be all-encompassing with eco-friendly, interactive features. They will include main stage presentations, seminars, an eco-chic fashion stage, organic cooking shows and even a Growing Up Green Kidz Play Zone.

Additional show features will include Hybridfest, a showcase of the latest eco-friendly cars, trucks and SUV's, an educational Healthy Home & Family display and yoga fitness class seminars.

For more information on the Homerizon home of the future and the Winnipeg Green Show, see www.winnipeggreenshow.com.

 

lewys@mts.net

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