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Canadian St. Jacobs energy innovator S2e behind a residential build that could change the way we live
The much-anticipated EVE Park project - an innovative residential community on the west side of London, Ontario - cleared another milestone in December, when local council voted unanimously to approve the zoning by-laws for the pioneering net-zero energy community. The December 10 approval has passed the requisite appeal period as of January 13th.
Derek Satnik (photo), Vice President of Technology, Smart Communities for S2e, has been shepherding the zoning process. “We are really pleased that the zoning change had unanimous support from council,” said Satnik, who was present at the December meeting. “We know, of course, that the City of London is deeply committed to sustainability issues, and it’s one of the reasons that a project like this is a great fit here.”
The EVE Park project is a groundbreaking residential community designed to integrate green energy technologies with a site plan that focuses on community and shared green space. The community has been designed with an autonomous vehicle future in mind; the plan includes an electric vehicle car-share program, and removes car garages from the home to allow for more pedestrian-friendly walkways and more outdoor space for uses such as open parks, gardens, small playgrounds or walking trails. The community will include approximately 80 households, and is designed to be offered at market rate.
In their comments on the zoning approval, councillors noted the developer’s commitment to sustainability and alternative mobility.
St. Jacobs-based S2e has co-developed the two largest solar farms in Canada, and has been technical advisor on a long list of projects including the neighbouring West5 project (Sifton Properties), the first net-zero energy supermarket in Canada (Longos, Stouffville) and are currently in the process of developing net zero energy communities in Mexico, as well as the U.S. where land is under contract and a second EVE Park design is in the planning stages.
“We are all acutely aware of the climate crisis,” says Ashley Hammerbacher, Team Lead for the EVE Park project. “Our vision for EVE Park was to create the kind of sustainable community that could be a serious, viable part of the solution. A community that could generate as much energy as it used - and that could reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, and change our relationship with our environment and our neighbours. I keep hearing that it must be too hard or too expensive. Those are misconceptions, and we’re tackling them with the support of partners - like Ellis Don, Gensler, and others - who are working with us to change perceptions of what is possible.”
The sweeping, circular design of the buildings has also been a key identifying feature of EVE Park, which looks unlike any residential project in the world. The unique design creates community spaces and wide-angle views, says Hammerbacher, who notes that “the idea is that we want to live in a park, not a parking lot.”
The company has kept in close contact with the London-area community as the EVE Park project has developed, and hopes to break ground in the coming months, although dates are not yet set.