Open House Announcement

Please join Jennifer Corson, Keith Robertson and the team in celebrating Solterre Design being the proud recipient of the 2014 Scotia Bank Ecoliving Business Leadership Award. 

A open house with refreshments will be held at the Concept House (39 Three Pastures Road, Second Peninsula, Lunenburg County) from 3-6 PM Friday, June 20th. Additional details, including contact information, are available in the image posted below. 

Concept House Invitation

Off-Grid Housing Article on is writing a series of articles on off-grid houses.  Both the Shed Retreat and the Concept House are highlighted in the first article, released over the weekend.  You can read the article at the following link:


Shed-Retreat - Off-grid on the South Shore

Shed-Retreat - Off-grid on the South Shore

13th Carmichael Lecture: Ken Greenberg

13th Carmichael Lecture: Ken Greenberg next Thursday


Go check it out; we are!


Ken Greenberg, former Director of Urban Design and Architecture for the City of Toronto and Principal of Greenberg Consultants, will speak on the concept of place at the 13th Annual Carmichael Lecture taking place on Thursday, March 6, at the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21, 1055 Marginal Road, 6:00-8:00 pm. The lecture is presented by DHBC in partnership with the Dalhousie University School of Planning. The Carmichael Lecture is free and open to the public on a first-come, first served basis. Parking at Pier 21 will be free after 5:30 pm.

About Ken Greenberg:
Ken Greenberg is an architect, urban designer, teacher, writer, former Director of Urban Design and Architecture for the City of Toronto and Principal of Greenberg Consultants. For over three decades he has played a pivotal role on public and private assignments in urban settings throughout North America and Europe, focusing on the rejuvenation of downtowns, waterfronts, neighborhoods and on campus master planning, regional growth management, and new community planning. Cities as diverse as Toronto, Hartford, Amsterdam, New York, Boston, Montréal, Ottawa, Edmonton, Calgary, St. Louis, Washington DC, Paris, Detroit, Saint Paul and San Juan Puerto Rico have benefited from his advocacy and passion for restoring the vitality, relevance and sustainability of the public realm in urban life. In each city, with each project, his strategic, consensus-building approach has led to coordinated planning and a renewed focus on urban design. He is the recipient of the 2010 American Institute of Architects Thomas Jefferson Award for public design excellence and the author of Walking Home: the Life and Lessons of a City Builder published by Random House.

Happy New Years!

All the best from Solterre Design.  

Have a wonderful evening and a prosperous 2014.


Concept House Guests

Jennifer, Keith and family were joined this past Friday by classes from the Nova Scotia Community College's Architectural Technician (Bridgewater Campus) and Energy Sustainability Engineering Technology programs (Middleton Campus) for a tour of the Concept House. 


Saltstone Residence - Design Update

Planned for construction in 2015, this exciting project will be situated in a secluded cove in Saint Margaret's Bay. The clients came to Solterre with some big challenges including; a site with no access to potable well water and a desire to meet the German 'Passive House' energy standard with the ability to be net zero. Passive house requires a 70-80% reduction in building energy over conventional construction.

As is often the case, the constraints focused and strengthened the design. Meeting the demanding energy efficiency targets of Passive House calls for simple compact building forms. Rainwater is collected on a dynamic butterfly roof and stored in an underground cistern located beneath a central breezeway. The breezeway provides a sheltered arrival and frames a first glimpse of the dramatic coastal views. A central scupper brings rainwater down in the centre of the breezeway, passing through a reflecting pool on its way to a storage cistern.

A large wood slat door slides across the south face of the home providing shelter from winds in the breezeway and operable shading for the large south windows.

As with all Solterre projects, several different designs were proposed, ensuring the client is an integral part of a collaborative design process. Sketches and renderings as well as line drawing are used to help clients understand design intent and visualize spaces.

Click on the images below to link to the project page to see more images.

Long overdue for an update

 What a busy few weeks we've been having at Solterre Design with lots of great things happening. Here's a quick peak at a few items: 


Valley Waste Resource Management Office Receives Passive House Certification:

The Valley Waste Resource Management office has recently received its Passive House (Passivhaus) certification, making it the first commercial project in Canada and the largest commercial project in North America to do so.  Natalie Leonard was the Passive House consultant on the project, which was designed by Solterre Design. CBCL Ltd. of Halifax was the mechanical consultant. LEED consulting services were also provided by Solterre Design, and the general contractor was Annapolis Valley-based Roscoe ConstructionFor more information on the Valley Waste Resource Management authority, click here.


Prospect Community Centre Achieves LEED Silver Certification: 

The Prospect Community Centre has recently achieved LEED Silver certification.  DSRA was the project architect and Bird Construction was the General Contractor, while Solterre Design provided LEED consulting services. Congratulations to everyone involved on the project and to HRM for the most recent addition to their LEED certified projects. 


Solterre Crew Goes for (the) Green 


In what is quickly becoming an annual event at the Solterre Office, the crew took part in a late-season golf game at the Briarwood executive course.  Colleen McHugh and Ian Anning shared the top prize (gloating rights) while David Gallaugher narrowly avoided a rogue (head) shot by Ian Campbell (sorry David!).  






Table Tennis Tournament Round 2 

The saga continues with WHW Architects hosting next week's second round of fast-flying action. Joining the fray is a crew from Breakhouse. Updates as to will carry the next title are forthcoming. 



Friendly Competition

The crew at Solterre Design was joined by our counterparts at WHW Architecture this past Thursday for a no-holds-barred table tennis tournament, albeit, on a not-so-official table.  

Congratulations to Tina Smith of WHW for ranking first, defeating Solterre Design's Keith Robertson in a vicious best of three final. Great food and a few laughs were shared by all. In the mean time, both crews are preparing for the next tournament to be hosted by WHW



Tina Smith and Keith Robertson 

Tina Smith and Keith Robertson 

John Crace and Tina Smith 

John Crace and Tina Smith 

Lieutenant Governor's Award - Update

Follow this link to see the listing for recipients of the Lieutenant Governor's Awards for Architecture.  

It was a lovely ceremony with a great representation of Nova Scotian architects and clients. Congratulations to everyone on the Concept Cottage team for receiving a Lieutenant Governor's Award!

Solterre design gets a photo op. with His Honour Brigadier-General The Honourable J.J. Grant, CMM, ONS, CD (Ret'd), Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia. 

Solterre design gets a photo op. with His Honour Brigadier-General The Honourable J.J. Grant, CMM, ONS, CD (Ret'd), Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia. 

Solar Powered Saws and More!

Construction of an off-grid residence on the south shore of Nova Scotia is well underway. The project has since turned off its generator and is now using a photovoltaic solar array to provide all of the power required for the remainder of the construction. 

Fundy Solar designed and installed this 0.7 kW array, which has a 4 kW inverter and a 4.4 kWh battery storage, all of which supplies a steady 24 volts. As construction progresses, we'll provide additional updates on both the project PV system powering the operation. 

A solar-powered construction site. 

A solar-powered construction site. 

Lieutenant Governor's Awards

The crew from Solterre Design was on hand at the Lieutenant Governor's Awards for Architecture to receive an Award of Merit for the Concept House. Congratulations to the team for all of their hard work!  If you are interested in learning more about the project, another open house is planned for this Fall. 


Concept House Awarded Lieutenant Governor's Award

Just a week after receiving LEED for Homes Platinum certification from the CaGBC, the Solterre Concept House was awarded a Lieutenant Governor's Award of Merit for architectural design from the Nova Scotia Association of Architects.  

Congratulations to a great design and construction team who were willing to push design and green construction boundaries and go the extra mile. This project is off-grid,  LEED Platinum and built to the German Passive House standard making it a real gem for environmentally focused building in Canada.

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