The house that soy built
Need another reason to get excited about the Royal Winter Fair (besides the adorable moo-moos, bunnies and piggies)? When you’ve had your fill of livestock (if that's possible), check out the model home that contains a variety of products made from soy.
This 1,200 square foot home (the pic at left shows the living room), a joint project by Ontario’s soybean farmers, Quality Engineered Homes, and Habitat for Humanity Halton, demonstrates how soy can be used as an environmentally-friendly, sustainable replacement to petroleum oil in the home. It was designed by style star Janette Ewen.
Everything from no-VOC paints and varnishes, adhesives, household insulation, kitchen cabinets, carpet backing, bathroom fixtures, sofas, mattresses, bedding, clothing, food, candles, soaps, and cosmetics can now feature soy, says Dale Petrie, a director for Grain Farmers of Ontario.
"It may sound space age, but in fact, it’s been around for a long time,” he says. “Even before WWII, Henry Ford was making some car parts out of soya oil." That was before the oil industry took over, and petroleum began seeping into all kinds of consumer products, from plastic wrap to lipstick. Gradually, manufacturers looking for green alternatives are “re-awakening to the possibilities of soya oil, and realizing that almost anything you can make with petroleum, you can make with soya oil,” adds Petrie.
That will be good news to Ontario's 23,000 soy farmers, who last year planted a record 2.4 million acres. About 80 per cent of the plant is used for animal feed, while the other 20 per cent is squeezed out in the form of oil, which becomes a key ingredient in the consumer products shown in the display home. This display will also include prototypes for the next generation of soya oil products, including shingles and a urinal (?!!)
And how’s this for a happy ending? After the Fair, which runs until November 16 in the Direct Energy Centre at Exhibition Place, the Soy House will become a Habitat for Humanity Halton home in Acton, where a team of dedicated volunteers Ontario soybean farmers and Quality Homes staff are working alongside the Habitat partner family to prepare the site.