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Sustainability project celebrated at open house


Dauphin marked itself a leader, as it hosted an open house, celebrating its first net zero home, May 23.
Steve Sobering, community energy manager for the City of Dauphin ,noted it is the first net zero house for the city and probably one of very few in the entire province.
“So as we celebrate the completion of the net zero home designed to generate as much renewable energy as it uses in a year, taking what most people thought was a fixed cost and eliminating it, this basically shows that all the technology we need exists right here in our community of Dauphin,” he said.
“The only thing you really need to effect positive change and make a better world is leadership and courage to go ahead and act on it.”
Sobering listed those leaders as the City of Dauphin, Parkland Campus of Assiniboine Community College (ACC), Dauphin Consumers Co-op and Co-op Home Centre, Manitoba Hydro and Fusion Credit Union.
He also noted Natural Resources Canada and its contribution of $1882,954 to the project was one of seven grants awarded throughout Canada and was the only one in Manitoba.
“So I think that’s something we should be very proud of,” Sobering said, adding his job as community energy manager is one of two funded positions Manitoba Hydro piloted in the province, paying his wage for two years.
Mayor Al Dowhan declared Dauphin is not a follower, but rather a leader in sustainable efforts, which was demonstrated by a 2017 sustainability award from the province.
In congratulating the city, ACC Parkland Campus director Gabe Mercier said the technical innovation and attention to details brought to the project was exciting for local carpentry students to experience.
“This house here is probably, I would say, on par with anything in the world as far as energy efficiency,” added ACC carpentry instructor Stuart Sinclair.
“It’s not just an energy efficient house, it’s a very green house. The products in here are environmentally friendly, a lot of recycled material goes into the insulation.”
Many speakers credited deceased mayor Eric Irwin for being one of the driving forces in getting the project started.
“It reflects our brand promises of locally invested, community-minded, lifetime membership benefits which is truly what makes Co-op a different kind of business,” said Dauphin Consumer Co-op general manager Lorne Eiffert.
Fusion Credit Union posted information the net zero energy consumption of the house, estimated at $275 per month, could save a home owner as much as $38,000 in interest and help pay off the mortgage more than four years sooner, based on a purchase price of $350,000, with a five per cent down payment.
“This project checks so many boxes for our credit union. It’s about supporting community projects that are worthy, getting things done and actually being environmentally friendly,” said Fusion Credit Union CEO Ron Hedley.
Eric Bjornson, President of Sundial Building Performance and lead designer of the Kithouse, which was used for the project, thanked Dauphin for initiating the project.
The home will be listed for sale shortly, Sobering said, with proceeds from the sale going to support the next sustainability project in the Parkland.

M. A. Nyquist