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Invite lets residents see what Wilson farmhouse could be

Guelph residents are being invited to a free tour this Saturday of a showroom for green living in Kitchener that could be a model for the future of Guelph’s Wilson farmhouse.
The 11 a.m. to 1 pm. Feb. 22 tour will be at the REEP House, an old brick house in central Kitchener that was renovated to turn into a green living showroom.
City council is accepting Expressions of Interest until March 20 from parties that have proposals for reuse of the Wilson farmhouse, located on the edge of a park in a north end subdivision. If no proposals are accepted by council, the farmhouse will be demolished and its site will become part of the park.
“A group of citizens is putting in an expression to restore Wilson Farmhouse, without using any capital or operating city money, but retaining city ownership, and for community use purposes,” said a news release from Ben Barclay, the original designer and project manager of the REEP House at 20 Mill St. in Kitchener.
“It is an interesting, innovative, social enterprise model, based on community centres as far away as Atlantis Leisure in Oban, Scotland, and as close as our own Guelph Youth Music Centre,” said Barclay, who will lead the tour of the REEP House.
The tour will seek to show how a century-old house can be transformed into a valuable community asset, while preserving heritage features and appeal, the release said. It will also show how people can use a green living showroom to “design a green renovation to chop your heating bills and increase the value of your home.”
Kitchener’s REEP House, which was Canada’s first LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum restoration of a century home, uses only $150 worth of gas to heat annually, the release said. It won the 2011 Minister of Energy’s Environmental Award of Excellence.

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