PowerStream, an Ontario-based community-owned energy company is leading the way toward a future of local renewable power generation with the launch of its Virtual Power Plant pilot program. 

Beginning in just a few weeks, the pilot program will provide 20 residential customers with a 5kW solar array and an 11.4 kWh lithium-ion battery, as well as the ability to access their system and track their energy production and storage remotely. To make this a reality, PowerStream has partnered with Sunverge Energy, a San Francisco company "with the vision of integrated solar, storage, and smart management software." 

Jutta Splettstoesser moved from Germany to Canada in 1993, and within a year she had married herhusband and started a family on a 300-acre farm in Kincardine. After raising pigs and sheep for years, they decided to trade livestock for solar, wheat, and non-GMO soy, and they haven't looked back.

There is a beacon of sustainability and community in North Toronto that is inspiring its neighbours and other communities to go green. The Ahmadiyya Abode of Peace is a non-profit housing project that began construction in 1993. Spearheaded by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community of Toronto, its focus is to use new technological developments to preserve and conserve energy for the purpose of creating greater affordability for it's residents. This principle of preservation and conservation is a keystone of the Ahmadiyya philosophy, faith and practice, which spans over 200 countries worldwide. It is not surprising therefore, that it was the foundation of their housing project.

"The culture of sustainability is something we live and breathe, here. Sustainable initiatives really began as a grassroots movement in 2006 by a group of associates called LEAF - Living Environmentally Aware Forum."

By Jeremiah Brenner

The founding of Steam Whistle is a story that has become a bit of a legend over the last decade. In 1998, three young and ambitious friends, all let go simultaneously from Upper Canada Brewing Company, were determined to start their own brewery. Without the burden of operating an inherited business with fixed structures and procedures Greg Taylor, Cam Heaps and Greg Cromwell felt passionate about doing "the right thing" from the beginning. Housed in one of North America's oldest surviving round-houses the three literally had to start their brewery from scratch; the round-house was a shell of a building. Challenges, however, more often than not are also opportunities. Keeping to their values they developed and implemented a strategy to combine smart business and sustainability practices recognizing that one does not exclude the other. After two long years of preparation, Steam Whistle began operating in 2000. 

100% renewables is impossible…and the world is flat. 

Up until Christopher Columbus sailed west, El Hierro was believed to be the last land before the end of the world. Sea monsters loomed on the horizon ready to devour ships and those audacious enough to journey into the unknown would fall off the edge into oblivion.

El Hierro was your last chance to turn back. 

What do many faith communities have in common besides shared teachings and philosophies that speak of caring for the earth? Buildings of course, with rooftops-many of which are perfectly angled to receive the glorious light of the sun! In Ontario, there are around 7000 religious organizations and of these, 137 have rooftop solar installations. 

This house is made out of dirt.  

And yours could be, too. 

Sylvia Cook's dream was to build her own sustainable, green house. After her career as a high school science teacher, this chance finally presented itself. With many years of DIY building at her family cottage under her belt, she had always held a keen interest in different types of structures and green building. Extensive research led to her discovery of rammed earth, a concept whereby using pneumatic sand tampers, a carefully selected mix of dirt is rammed into place to create an uncannily structurally sound wall. She signed herself up for a rammed earth workshop and fell in love. Luckily, Cook was equipped with an eager, then-university aged son, Graham, who shares her penchant for sustainable building and was ready for a unique home building challenge.

"Maybe eventually, we will all generate all of the power we need for our homes, vehicles and heating. We will have the ability to share our power with our neighbours. Our cars will become power sources for our homes. We will reach a point where fossil fuels are no longer needed for heating and mobility."

by Jay Heaman

The Green Energy Act: We need to lead by example 

Many don't realize that in addition to the Feed-in Tariff and energy efficiency programs, the Green Energy Act was designed to encourage municipalities and utilities to lead by example. Municipalities are now required to establish a Municipal Energy Plan and to engage residents in community based energy programs. The idea is that residents as consumers will learn from this level of leadership and eventually adopt many of the ideas and improvements into their lives.