The eco-entrepreneur who captured our hearts: Solution ERA


Julien Watine, communications, marketing, événements, Francis Gendron, founder, panelist, instructor and Frédéric Wiper, panelist, instructor, 3d modeling.


The small team at Solution ERA definitely has leadership and vision to inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs. This is a company dedicated to sharing information on sustainable construction best practices and technologies.


Solution ERA: a primer
  • Products and services: Conferences and training sessions on many green technologies, a DVD box set and an e-book on building passive solar greenhouses
  • Key technologies and topics covered: Radically sustainable buildings, passive solar greenhouses, resilience and permaculture
  • Number of conferences held since 2012: Over a hundred
  • Number of employees: Three
  • Company located in: Temporary headquarters in Sherbrooke
  • Mission statement: “Inspire and support all those who, like us, aspire to an extraordinary and sustainable quality of life.”


Communications, Marketing and Events Manager Julien Watine agreed to answer a few questions about that unusual company.


Can you briefly explain Solution ERA’s driving philosophy? You seem very passionate, and we’d like to know more.

Look at our mission statement: inspire and support all those who, like us, aspire to an extraordinary and sustainable quality of life. We see solutions as a philosophy. Everything can be seen either as a large problem or as a solution to create a viable future.


We heard you were preparing new products and services relating to even more modern green buildings. What’s on your drawing board?

Solution ERA founder Francis Gendron had the chance to meet thousands of people who dreamed of a truly green and resilient house. He realized that, due to limitations in the services currently on offer and the inflexibility of Quebec’s building code, it’s quite difficult for the average person to have access to the tools they need to build their dream home. That’s why, for over a year now, we’ve been working to develop tools that would help more people realize their dream. That being said, we’ve recently designed training courses with the help of Quebec’s top specialists in their field. As of this fall, we will also be offering blueprints for modern houses that are effective, environmentally friendly and accessible.


solution_era_3Photo credit: Solution era


Pretend I’m not a very handy person and I don’t know much about building design. What advice would you give me if I wanted to get into the kind of activities you offer?

Good question! We offer two types of activities. The first type is for people who want to make informed choices when designing or renovating their building, but don’t necessarily want to do the manual work themselves. We created our Green Building Design Certificate for them!


The second type of activity is a lot more hands-on: summer workshops which are less focused on design concepts and largely dedicated to practice, from building passive solar greenhouses to implementing water filtration systems and designing permaculture gardens.


All of our training is developed for people without prior knowledge in the field. We’re really aiming to make all these concepts accessible.


In your opinion, what surprises do the next few years hold for green technologies and buildings? What kind of innovations do you think we’ll be seeing?

We believe that the green technology sector will grow exponentially in the coming years. We’ll be seeing more and more homes that are 100% self-sufficient for water, energy and heating. Radical price drops for solar panels and the quality, durability and capacity of new batteries will make renewable energy first-rate economic solutions.


What is the most extraordinary accomplishment you’ve ever seen in the green building field?

Two things immediately come to mind. The Phoenix Earthship in Taos, New Mexico is an artistic masterpiece that interacts with natural phenomena to create a house that’s self-sufficient with regards to water, energy and food production for its occupants. The second is the Bullitt Center in Seattle, Washington. That was the first building to surpass, in several ways, the very high standards for environmental friendliness and autonomy of the Phoenix. It also created many new opportunities for cities, since this is an energy- and water-independent, six-story-high commercial building.


One last question. Your website has a secret page that can only be accessed using a password. What’s behind this mysterious link? We at Cascades would like to know.

This was a heavily guarded secret until now. But since you brought it up…

Password: jesuisunsecret


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About the Author
Noémie David

Noémie is an intern at the Cascades Communications Department for the 2015 spring session. A student in the Bachelor of Marketing Communications program at the Université de Sherbrooke (Cooperative program), Noémie takes every opportunity to learn new things and take on new challenges: “At Cascades, I get to put my skills to use every day. It’s a very open-minded company that really puts its employees first. What first caught my attention was the importance the Company places on sustainable development and the efforts it makes to implement best practices and to innovate.

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