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Glassworks Co-Design: Round One Round-Up!

Almost 300 attendees and 12 guest speakers participating in our initial round of learning and discussion brought great insights to the membership on topics of renewable energy, universal design and aging in place, and affordable sustainable building material and design options.

As we develop our next, more detailed round of design sessions to launch later this spring, looking closely together at site plan options, building design, and decision-making structures, we wanted to collect all of the great learnings from our first 5 sessions in one place, so here you go!


with guest speakers Shirley John (Saugeen First Nation), Kris Stevens (Cohousing Options Canada), and Philly Markowitz (Grey County)

We are honoured to have the wisdom and blessing of Shirley John, Strong White Buffalo Woman guiding this extraordinary project and look forward to fruitful developing partnerships with local First Nation organizations as the project develops

Philly Markowitz, Local Food Economic Development Officer for Grey County has been a champion of Glassworks since its inception. See how Glassworks fit into County goals for sustainability, housing affordability, agriculture and more as part of our presentation.

Kris Stevens, Executive Director of Co-housing Options Canada, has been a wonderful resource to Glassworks for understanding housing options, ownership models and governance structures. Check out their About Co-housing page for a great overview of this inspiring model which may guide aspects of Glassworks.


We are beginning conversations with partners to collaborate on some of the housing and employment opportunities on the Glassworks site. Check out the details on our session presentation. Meanwhile we are excited to be preparing a portion of the land to host Look Up Theatre’s Grey Bruce Youth Troupe for their covid-safe outdoor circus school this August as well as an extraordinary performance by North FIRE Circus.

Check out a preliminary concept for how the site may be divided among its potential future uses including agriculture, employment and housing. This concept does not represent plans for the site (the design committee is working towards some more refined concepts to share with the membership later this spring), but gives a sense of scale and potential mixes of uses.

Know of any businesses that would be ideal partners for Glassworks? Share our Expression of Interest form with them.


with Ed Marion (Passive House Ontario), Fred Harding (Beach Community Energy Cooperative), David Leonce (Motechs Modern Technologies) and Joerg Wittenbrink (Energy Systems Researcher)

This powerhouse of experts opened our eyes to some great options and ways of thinking about the scale and interconnectedness of our renewable energy system for Glassworks with a focus on simplicity: passive house design minimizes the need for large scale or complex energy systems.

Check out our renewable energy systems resource sheet and feel free to add any great links or resources.

And here are the great presentations that were share with us by the presenters: Joerg Wittenbrink's presentation about important considerations for community energy planning, Terry Hawrysh's presentation about stakeholder engagement, and Jiri Skopek's presentation with net-zero energy examples and low-tech solutions.

Although we did not hear from a ground source heat pump expert, this is an option that we continue to explore as an appropriate option for Glassworks.


with Pat Kelly (Bronson RISE), Jan Chamberlain (Grey Bruce Council on Aging) and Janet Torge (Radical Resthomes)

Huge thanks to Jan Chamberlain for letting us know about all of the great work happening in Owen Sound, to Pat Kelly for helping us think about how co-housing and aging converge, and to Janet Torge for sharing her vision for Radical Resthomes. You can also check out a great 5 minute video about her vision here. Here are the presentation slides from Kelsey, Jan and Pat.

Here are the videos we shared at the beginning: The Best of Both Worlds (a trailer to the film introducing co-housing, which we plan to screen together in the future), and the 2 minute video produced in the Ithaca New York Ecovillage 10 reasons why families want to live in Ecovillages.

And here are a few other interesting links to concepts and resources that came up in our conversation:


with Chris Magwood (The Endeavour Centre)

We were honoured to be able to host Ontario’s sustainable building expert and founder of the Endeavour Sustainable Building school Chris Magwood to educate Glassworks about the best options for affordable, sustainable building methods and materials. Here is his slide deck and the criterion matrix used for decision-making and prioritizing the many intentions that will define our final design. I also wanted to share the materials encyclopedia developed through the Endeavour Sustainable Building School. If you have thoughts, designs, inspiration or resources you'd like to share with the design committee, feel free to reach out to Kelsey at

We look forward to diving deeper into the next round of the design process with future residents and collaborators of Glassworks. Think you might be one of them? Fill out our live / work at glassworks survey and let us know!