Garrett Gauthier

Garrett Gauthier's picture
Basic Info
Wild Gift Class Year: 
2011
Better World Expertise: 
Affordable/Green Housing
Education
Energy
Water
Current Occupation: 
Founder of Net Zero Toolbox; M.A.Sc. Candidate in Mechanical Engineering
Wild Gift instilled in me a new sense of ambition and focus. The Wild Gift team has an uncanny ability to help distill a person's passions into clear, attainable goals... and then provide inspiration and motivation in spades. I no longer question what I can do -- I simply ask myself how I will do it.

My enthusiasm for energy- and resource-efficient homes was first sparked in 2005 during a reunion with a long-lost cousin in eastern Ontario.  This cousin's home – built at a fraction of the cost of most new houses, yet wholly comfortable and uncompromisingly eco-friendly – struck me as clear evidence that a sustainable society is far from just an ideal and is already quite possible.

I've been studying and experimenting with “household-scale” sustainable technologies ever since.  Renewable energy, passive solar design, wastewater recycling, composting toilets, and backyard food production – my goal is to help others include such systems into their homes and workplaces.

In 2009, I helped to initiate the Onaen Sustainable Housing Project in Guelph, Ontario, Canada.  Onaen is a testing ground and demonstration centre for simple energy-saving renovations and retrofits.  Then, in 2010, I organized and led P.E.D.A.L. Across the Americas, a series of documentary bicycle tours to research sustainable technologies, households, and communities.  P.E.D.A.L. volunteers cycled more than 6000 miles over 18 months to document how everyday homeowners have tranformed their houses and lightened their utility bills with simple changes.

My 2011 Wild Gift trek instilled in me a new sense of ambition and focus, and has opened up some very exciting future collaborations.  Since the trek, I've been acting as founder and lead organizer for the Net Zero Toolbox, a program to educate Ontario homeowners about energy-efficient retrofits and household energy production options. I'm also earning my Masters degree in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Waterloo.  My work with lithium ion battery technology is helping to improve electric vehicle range and performance in the cold winter weather of Canada and the northern United States.