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Make things as simple as possible, but no simpler.

Albert Einstein

RESTCo Principal: Peter A. G. Russell

Peter Russell is a Professional Engineer whose experience straddles the fields of Industrial Engineering and Building Technology and is backed by a long-time commitment to seeking paths to greater sustainability.

After graduating in Mechanical Engineering, and then obtaining a master’s degree in Production Engineering, at Birmingham University in the UK, Peter pursued a career in manufacturing industries in the UK and Canada. This culminated in managing a housing prefabrication plant in Churchill, Manitoba, for the provincial government. This was a stepping stone to a second career, in the Research Division of Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) in Ottawa.

During 19 years at CMHC he managed the contracting-out of research into a very broad range of topics, including solar energy systems, indoor air quality, basement structures, composite wood structures, mechanical systems, district heating, prefabricated housing, foundation systems for Arctic housing, life-cycle costing of houses, and embodied energy of building materials. This mix of experience formed the basis for his role as one of the principals involved in establishing CMHC’c Healthy Housing initiative.

He was appointed as Canada’s representative on the International Energy Agency (IEA) Future Buildings Forum, an international body required to identify energy- and building-related research priorities. Stemming from that, he chaired the 13-nation IEA Annex 31 - Energy Related Environmental Impact of Buildings, which brought together leading expertise on how this could be quantified. He was vice-chair of the Canadian Standards Association’s (CSA) committee on Heat Recovery Ventilators, and also served on CSA’s committee set up to establish a ventilation standard.

In the early 1980s he constructed his own home, modelled on the 1976 Saskatchewan Research House, largely from materials recovered from two ex-military houses, taken apart as a family exercise.

Subsequent to an early retirement from CMHC in 1998, Peter has pursued a variety of initiatives, taking advantage of his extensive network of colleagues in the field of housing technology. In 2002/2003 he was a resource person for the CitiesPlus design competition held by Greater Vancouver to elicit ideas on how it could become a sustainable city within 100 years.

In 2007/2008 he was engaged by Habitat for Humanity Canada to project-manage the building and equipping of a factory in Nepal to manufacture corrugated bamboo roof panels. This was largely funded by CIDA.

He is engaged in initiatives that blend production, housing, and energy-related engineering. These activities have comprised projects related to concrete foundations, processing of fly ash, modular concrete housing, heat recovery ventilator design, and systems to reduce hurricane damage to houses. Currently he is developing a house design suited to remote, northern conditions.

He sings and sails.

Peter has agreed to be the President and CEO for RESTCo.

Contact Peter at peter@restco.ca

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