CANDIAC, QC, Nov. 29, 2017 /CNW Telbec/ - The City of Candiac is proud to become a partner of the ambitious Jardins Solaire project, which aims to install urban agriculture and solar panels on the roofs of 148 new townhouses, a first in Quebec for the real estate sector. In short, 74 homes will accommodate organic vegetable gardens whose three annual crops will be sold locally, while the other 74 homes will have six solar panels each producing green energy. Mayor Normand Dyotte said: "Rooftop agriculture and energy production is the way of the future and fits perfectly within a sustainable development approach. In total, an area equivalent to two football fields will be consciously put to use rather than left neglected."
In partnership with La Shop Agricole and the City of Candiac, Jardins Solaires is an initiative of the real estate developer Groupe Xpansion for its residential project Pür Urbain Candiac, currently under construction. It is located in Square Candiac, a POD (Pedestrian-Oriented Development) multigenerational mega-project with 2,000 dwellings, the construction of which began in 2016.
Unprecedented technology for rooftop agriculture
La Shop Agricole, a local company specializing in intensive urban agricultural production, will manage the roofs by growing eggplants, carrots, kale, Swiss chard, bok choy, cabbages, Chinese cabbage, spinach, peppers, radishes and tomatoes.
"These organic vegetables will be grown in Smart Pot containers raised a few centimetres high that will not let the earth through; only the water drains down with drip irrigation, thus reducing water consumption. This technique has also been publicly endorsed by Albert Mondor, a renowned horticulturist, well known by the general public," explains Jean Pessoa, President of Groupe Xpansion.
Every week between May and November, specialized staff will come to take care of the vegetable gardens. The vegetables gathered will then be sold to local restaurants, in public markets or directly to citizens, with the aim of redistribution to the community. Profits from sales will be returned directly as working capital from the administration of condominiums, thus making a part of a building that is usually uneconomic, profitable.
"The majority of projects that combine agriculture and real estate do not necessarily focus on farming with a return on investment. We have developed an effective, proven, light and disarmingly simple approach that makes it accessible to everyone. We design everything internally, from pots to fertilizer and including the irrigation system. There will be three plantings during the season—in April, May-June and September. Due to weather variations, it is difficult to accurately determine crop quantities. However, each residential unit with five large Smart Pot containers will have a $2000 crop harvest potential per year. Thus, the investment return threshold would be obtained after the third year," said Nicolas Ste-Marie, President of La Shop Agricole President.
More than 500 solar panels
The electricity generated by the panels will be used for lighting homes and will thus reduce the energy bills of homeowners. As an indication, a typical panel generates an average 300 kWh each year. So a home with six will provide almost 2000 kWh in a year, the equivalent of a full month of consumption by a family.
In addition, it will be possible for residents to track their production and energy use using a smart phone. Solar panels will include a consumption management module. This tool makes it possible to chart power consumption in order to note peak usage, as well as times when the solar panels were insufficient.
"The City of Candiac takes great pride in supporting this project," said Mayor Normand Dyotte, "as it ties in perfectly with our aim and desire to make sustainable development the foundation on which the future Candiac will be built. In its 2014-2029 Strategic Development Plan, the City is committed to providing a high-quality living environment, ensuring harmonious and responsible development and the growth of an ever-improving and innovative municipal organization."
SOURCE Ville de Candiac
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