Church creates space for 16 large immigrant families, North Glenora.

North Glenora’s housing project is one of the largest net-zero multi-family housing project in Canada, it’s a social housing project with enough community support to go unopposed at City Hall for rezoning, and it helped save the neighbourhood elementary school by already adding 33 new students.

The grand opening is scheduled for Feb. 2.North Glenora Townhomes is a partnership with the Westmount Presbyterian Church, which used to have a sprawling old cinderblock church its dwindling congregation could no longer afford to heat. 

They partnered with the Right at Home Housing Society to demolish the facility, then build a much smaller church and daycare beside 16 three- and five-bedroom stacked townhouses.

To achieve net-zero status, the building operates like a mini-Blatchford, a smaller-scale version of the geothermal and district energy system planned for the former City Centre Airport land.

They drilled 33 holes, 75 metres deep under the parking lot to heat both the church/daycare and the townhomes. Solar panels on the roof provide the electricity to each unit and to pump the water flowing through underground pipes.

The water is heated to 6 C underground, then a heat pump in each unit concentrates the heat energy to warm a room. The building is tied into the grid so it can sell excess energy during the summer and draw energy in the winter. It has no natural gas connection.

North Glenora feels safe and quiet. The community league brought treats when they moved in and the school gave each family a Christmas gift basket.