Sustainable.TO

Pocket Top-Up

Third-floor addition and full interior renovation

This third-floor addition and full interior renovation of a 19th century semi-detached home in the Pocket sought to add space for a growing family by expanding a previously-captured third storey. SUSTAINABLE.TO helped maintain the character of the existing house while increasing openness and natural light, improving the functionality of each floor level, and creating a connection to the back yard.

Location:
Toronto
Completion:
2016
Project Lead:
Kelsey Saunders
Contractor:
MG Build Inc.
Lake House - Projects Sustainable.TO Architecture + Building

Sustainable.TO

Lake House

"Appropriately-Sized Home" on Lake Ontario

Our client approached SUSTAINABLE.TO to undertake the design of a new, appropriately-sized dwelling on their family-owned lakeside property.

The original home, a converted boathouse, sat dangerously close to the water’s edge, and was beginning to show signs of collapse. Knowing the boathouse would soon fall into the lake, our client was determined to build a new, modestly-sized home in a location further inland from the lake. The requirements were simple: a safe, well-insulated, and air-tight home, built on a limited budget. Nothing fancy, just the very basics of a healthy, comfortable, and energy-efficient home.

The simple geometric form lends itself well to high-performance construction. Reducing complexity and focusing on the essentials, Lake House was designed to be easily constructed.The careful selection of durable materials, the size and location of windows and doors, and an appropriately-sized mechanical system form the basics of the design. A covered front porch and lakeside terrace provide shelter from the elements and the perfect vantage point to take in the spectacular view of the lake and the city beyond.

What more does one need?

Monkton Avenue Renovation - Projects Sustainable.TO Architecture + Building

Sustainable.TO

Monkton Avenue Renovation

Second-storey addition and renovation of postwar bungalow in Etobicoke

This second-storey addition and renovation of a postwar bungalow in Etobicoke created more space and an improved living environment for our clients.

Location:
Etobicoke, ON
Completion:
2005
Project Lead
Paul Dowsett
Principal-in-Charge 2004-2005:
(Scott Morris Architects Inc.) Paul Dowsett, Architect
Principal-in-Charge 2009-2017:
(Paul Dowsett Architecture Ltd. o/a SUSTAINABLE.TO) Paul Dowsett, Architect
NOW Magazine Readers’ Choice - Projects Sustainable.TO Architecture + Building

Sustainable.TO

NOW Magazine Readers’ Choice

WINNER: Best Design Firm

SUSTAINABLE.TO has been voted Best Design Firm in NOW Magazine’s 2016 Readers’ Choice!

We are

Holt Renfrew Bee Hotel - Projects Sustainable.TO Architecture + Building

Sustainable.TO

Holt Renfrew Bee Hotel

Bee Hotel Designed and Built for Holt Renfrew's H Project

​Holt Renfrew retained SUSTAINABLE.TO to design and build a Bee Hotel for their flagship location at 50 Bloor Street East. As a part of Holt’s H Project, this addition follows their 2015 efforts where they raised $100,000 in support of Pollinator Partnership Canada.

Using reclaimed shipping pallets, floor joists from a home renovation, and a stain to match Holt’s signature magenta, this installation provides both the food and shelter for our native pollinators. Neighbouring office towers and residences standing taller offer a view down onto the rooftop where this new addition provides a refreshing sight from the gravel and mechanical systems otherwise present. A selection of pollinator friendly wildflowers was chosen to attract pollinators, compliment the signature magenta colour of the structure, and provide a consistent bloom throughout the summer.

Photos by Jenna Marie Wakani for Holt Renfrew

Locations:
50 Bloor Street West
Completion:
2016
Project Lead:
Joel Anderson
Partners:
Holt Renfrew, Pollinator Partnership Canada
Materials:
Shipping Pallets, construction waste
FutureBuilders - Projects Sustainable.TO Architecture + Building

Sustainable.TO

FutureBuilders

Architecture Camp for Kids

Hosted every July, FutureBuilders is an architectural “boot camp” for youth in grades 6 to 9, that focuses on engaging the future stewards of our built environment in the theory, history, buildings, architects, importance, process, contemporary issues in, and experience of architecture. Designed and facilitated by archiTEXT, and supported by SUSTAINABLE.TO, the camp brings in guest speakers from a variety of disciplines to share their expertise around green and sustainable architecture.

By exposing these young people to ideas beyond community and urban planning - to the spaces that define the landscape - we are providing them with an opportunity to engage in a discipline generally left out of realm of children, while engraining an appreciation and critical eye for architecture, and an ability to define it.

For more information or to sign up, email: futurebuilders@architextinc.com

Location:
Toronto, ON
Project Lead:
Steve Socha
Project Lead:
Joel Anderson
Afterglow Yoga Studio - Projects Sustainable.TO Architecture + Building

Sustainable.TO

Afterglow Yoga Studio

Health and Fitness in the Beaches

Located in the beaches neighbourhood of Toronto, Afterglow is more than just a yoga and fitness studio. The design of the space focuses on community, health, mindfulness, and inspiration, by creating an open and inviting, light-filled environment for visitors to relax, exercise, and unwind. There are even community spaces to hang out before and after classes: a tea bar, retail space, and lounge area.

The material palette combines the natural and the modern, to create a bright, welcoming, and natural environment. Sustainable features include materials that are recycled and do not off-gas, efficient lighting, reversible ceiling fans with natural cross-ventilation, and on-demand water heating.

With its friendly and knowledgeable owners, great location, and welcoming design, Afterglow Yoga Studio promises to be a staple in the beaches area for years to come.

Location:
Toronto, ON
Completion:
2016
Area:
3,000sq.ft.
Project Architect:
Steve Socha
Contractor:
Sustainable Building Services Inc.
Mechanical:
KYCO Engineering Ltd.
Electrical:
KYCO Engineering Ltd.
TRCA Innovation Park Visitor Centre - Projects Sustainable.TO Architecture + Building

Sustainable.TO

TRCA Innovation Park Visitor Centre

Living Building Challenge Visitor Centre for the BRE Innovation Park at the Living City Campus

Already considered Canada’s largest environmental education facility, the Kortright Centre in Kleinburg, ON is now on the cusp of also becoming the country’s first-ever BRE (Building Research Establishment) Innovation Park and an integral part of the global web of similar parks.

Completion:
2018
Area:
7,600sq.ft. (700sq.m.)
Certification Goal:
Living Building Challenge
Client:
Toronto and Region Conservation Authority
Location:
The Living City Campus at the Kortright
Construction:
Ellis Don
Project Architect:
Craig Race
Egale Centre - Projects Sustainable.TO Architecture + Building

Sustainable.TO

Egale Centre

LGBTQ Homeless Youth Transitional Housing

There is a clear and urgent need for a facility exclusively dedicated to homeless LGBTIQ2S youth in Toronto. Nearly one in four homeless youth identify as LGBTIQ2S and, facing homophobia at home, they lack the traditional social supports necessary for the transition from childhood to adulthood. Once on the street, these same youth report being afraid to access mainstream shelters and housing for fear of abuse. In response to these challenges, Egale Centre will be exclusively dedicated to homeless LGBTIQ2S youth.

Canada’s first and only facility (only the ninth in the world!) that will combine the proven counselling services of Egale Youth Outreach with emergency and transitional housing exclusively dedicated to serving homeless LGBTIQ2S (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, intersex, queer, questioning and Two Spirit) youth. When its doors open, Egale Centre promises to fundamentally transform the support services offered to Toronto’s homeless youth population.

The facility will be an extensive renovation of two existing housing structures on the site - a historic home from the late 1800s, and an apartment built in 1978. SUSTAINABLE.TO’s mission is to preserve and improve these historic structures, and blend them into a new facility with exceptional energy efficiency and comfort.

New west-facing windows with vertical shading devices will create a visual identity that ties the existing structures together and shades the building from summertime sun. This is our effort to blend passive sustainable features with the architecture of the building and neighbourhood, combining beauty and function into one meaningful infusion. This ties together the old with the new, and creates an interface between inside and out.

Above-code amounts of insulation will be added to the inside of the existing masonry structures, preserving the exterior aesthetic and creating a very comfortable interior environment. This is created through pioneering construction techniques that allow a new, high-efficiency building to be constructed within the shell of an old one. This allows us to preserve resources during construction and operation, and preserve the social equity of the site.

Support this project here: www.egalecentre.ca

Location:
Toronto, ON
Completion:
2017
Area:
1670 m², 18,000 ft²
Project Architect:
Craig Race
Client:
Egale Canada Human Rights Trust
Interior Design:
Yabu Pushelberg
Contractor:
Daniels Corporation
Structural:
Atkins + VanGroll
Mechanical & Electrical:
Mott MacDonald
Millwood Residence - Projects Sustainable.TO Architecture + Building

Sustainable.TO

Millwood Residence

Deep Energy Retrofit and Second Floor Addition of a Brick Bungalow

Our approach to this project was simple - maintain the existing brick structure, and build an energy efficient home within and above it.

Not only did we challenge ourselves to work with the existing structure, and improve its energy efficiency, but we also wanted to improve the heritage character of the building. We did this by celebrating the exterior decks, and carrying them up to the new second floor. We also used the decks as passive shading devices. The depth of the south deck is tuned to shade the south-facing windows in the summer, and allow maximum sun penetration in the winter.

Millwood attempts to find the balance between energy efficiency driver by passive design, and the celebration of heritage character.

Location:
Toronto, ON
Completion:
2016
Area:
303 m², 3,266 ft²
Project Architect:
Craig Race
Energy Intensity:
Estimated: 123 kWh/m²
Reduction in Energy Use from Typical:
56%
Air Tightness:
2.8 ACH
Structural:
K H Davis Consulting Engineers
Mechanical:
AVR Heating and Air Conditioning
Contractor:
Modus Homes
Norden Crescent - Projects Sustainable.TO Architecture + Building

Sustainable.TO

Norden Crescent

Don Mills Addition/Renovation

Don Mills Addition/Renovation

Eastern 2016 - Projects Sustainable.TO Architecture + Building

Sustainable.TO

Eastern 2016

2016 Race to Zero Student Design Competition

“The 2016 Race to Zero Student Design Competition had 31 teams from 25 collegiate institutions competing to design cost-effective, zero energy homes for mainstream builders.”

Eastern Pine Project - Ryerson University, True North Design Team Pine Project - Ryerson University, True North Design Team

Winner: First Place, Small Multifamily Housing Contest

Eastern Pine Project Summary

Project Lead:
Craig Race
Eastern 2015 - Projects Sustainable.TO Architecture + Building

Sustainable.TO

Eastern 2015

2015 Race to Zero Student Design Competition

“The 2015 Race to Zero Student Design Competition had 33 teams from 27 U.S. and Canadian universities competing to design cost-effective, zero energy homes for mainstream builders.”

Ø-Zone - Ryerson University’s Department of Architectural Science
Winner of two awards: Design Excellence, and System Integration Excellence

Link to Globe and Mail article: Student design for an energy-sipping home wins big

Project Lead:
Craig Race
Risebrough Residence - Projects Sustainable.TO Architecture + Building

Sustainable.TO

Risebrough Residence

New Build Resilient Single Family Home in North York

The forward-thinking Risebrough Residence employs readily-available construction materials in innovative ways to achieve a future-proof dwelling for a young Toronto family. As extreme weather events occur more and more frequently, our clients wanted a home that would sip energy, endure for generations, and remain comfortable at all times.

To achieve these goals, the architecture does the heavy lifting. The staggered rooflines accommodate high windows that admit daylight naturally; while convection currents passively vent warm, stale indoor air through the upper windows and draw in cooler, fresh air from the garden level during the shoulder seasons. To reduce energy demand, the home is wrapped in a thick blanket of insulation; while an air-tight building envelope reduces unwanted air-leakage. Two fully ducted energy recovery ventilators (ERV’s) handle controlled ventilation: ensuring the fresh incoming air is efficiently preheated and humidified by the outgoing exhaust air. As heating and cooling loads have passively been reduced by 80% over a typical home, the remaining heating requirements are handled by a hydronic in-floor radiant heating system powered by a super-efficient natural gas boiler.

To ensure these goals were met, SUSTAINABLE.TO performs periodic site reviews to ensure construction is proceeding as intended. A Blower-Door test was performed to review the building envelope for air leakage to ensure a continuous air barrier. From a pre-inspection reading of 4.30 ACH50 (Air Change per Hour at 50 Pascals), SUSTAINABLE.TO was able to pinpoint air leakage, and improve air-tightness to a final reading of 1.7 ACH50—which translates to a 35% reduction in energy use from air-tightness alone.

Location:
North York, ON
Completion:
2016
Area:
306.6 m², 3,300 ft²
Project Lead:
Nicholas Discenza
Initial ACH50:
4.30
Final ACH50:
1.77 (35% improvement over Initial)
Energy Intensity:
Estimated: 71 kWh/m²
Reduction in Energy Use from Typical:
80%
Mechanical:
Alpha Comfort Control
Contractor:
Greenbilt Homes
Oriole Parkway - Projects Sustainable.TO Architecture + Building

Sustainable.TO

Oriole Parkway

New Build in Midtown Toronto

This stately home located in midtown Toronto is close to Yonge and Eglinton for shops, services, and restaurants, and well as transit along the Yonge-University-Spadina subway line and the under-construction Eglinton Crosstown LRT. This home is closely linked to what makes this city “tick”, while still providing the required interior and exterior space for a growing 21st century family. Generous spaces on the ground floor provide both family and entertainment spaces, as well as a music studio a few steps up (above the garage) for private lessons and practice. Four comfortable bedrooms are on the second floor, as well as a private third floor retreat. Also on the third floor is a stunning, light-filled Winter Garden with windows and skylights for planting herbs and orchids. Views to downtown and the CN Tower are present from the rear second and third floor decks, which also overlook a spacious manicured rear yard with large, mature Elm Tree for passive shading on the east side. Large bay windows on the west facing the street allow for passive solar heating in the wintertime, while integrated interior shades block unwanted heat in the summertime.

Durable materials and efficient fixtures are used throughout the home to increase useability and decrease maintenance. On the interior these include tiles with recycled content, bamboo floors, and LED lighting; and on the exterior include stone cladding, aluminum-clad windows, ironwood decks, and permeable paving.

This home proves that sustainability does not fit a particular look or style, and can be adapted to any condition and any look you should choose.

Approvals included: Committee of Adjustment, Urban Forestry, Legal Services, Transportation Services, and Encroachments.

Location:
Toronto, ON
Completion:
2016
Area:
350 m², 3,764 ft²
Project Lead:
Donald Peckover
Contractor:
Toronto Drywall
HVAC:
World of Comfort
Landscape Architect:
Bsq Design
Pottery Studio - Projects Sustainable.TO Architecture + Building

Sustainable.TO

Pottery Studio

Replacing Old Garage with Backyard Pottery Studio

When our client initially purchased their home, they had planned to use the existing detached garage as a studio. The existing garage was old and worn, and when it was determined that the best plan was to replace it, we began the journey that led us to a new pottery studio.

Working with the City and the various constraints of the small site we were forced to shift from simply replacing the rectangular shape of the existing garage to an L shaped studio. We wouldn’t truly appreciate the silver lining of this until project completion. Entering first into the smaller side of the studio before turning around into the bright, expansive feeling workspace, you feel as though the studio is tucked right into the rising landscape of the backyard. The south facing windows will allow the artist to work in this bright space year round, being warmed by the sun in the winter, but shaded at the height of the summer. When additional heating is required, an efficient mini-split heat pump was installed to bring the studio up to a comfortable temperature.

LED lighting keeps the workspace bright whenever needed. The sink, leftover from a restaurant, tucks nicely into the side of the workshop, but is deep enough to clean up after any project.

With the kiln freshly delivered, we eagerly await the new pieces to come from this inspiring space.

Location:
Toronto, ON
Completion:
2016
Area:
24 m², 257 ft²
Project Lead:
Joel Gilbert Anderson
Contractor:
Modus Homes
Photography:
NGDphotography
Whitefriars Home - Projects Sustainable.TO Architecture + Building

Sustainable.TO

Whitefriars Home

Modern Expansion and Renovation

Our clients desired to increase their space with additions to the ground floor and second floor, including a complete re-cladding of the house to give it curb appeal and a clean modern look. The renovation also increased natural light and maintained a balanced look from both the interior and exterior.

To achieve this, SUSTAINABLE.TO measures included: a new ground floor addition which expanded the living and dining room space and brightened it with new large front windows; a renovated front entry with increased space and cubbies for storage, and a new second floor addition to accommodate a new principal bedroom with ensuite washroom and walk-in closet, and a new skylight in the existing washroom. Energy efficiency was improved by replacing existing windows with new high efficiency windows, and exterior insulation was added to reduce heat-loss, which was then clad with new stone and wood siding.

The result is a light-filled, balanced, and spacious home with beautiful natural materials - a modern upgrade from the original house.

Location:
North York, ON
Completion:
2015
Area:
400 m², 4,306 ft²
Project Lead:
Steve Socha
Contractor:
Modus Homes Inc.
HVAC:
Elite H.V.A.C. Designs
(Untitled) by Flaunt Boutique - Projects Sustainable.TO Architecture + Building

Sustainable.TO

(Untitled) by Flaunt Boutique

Boutique Hair Salon on Queen Street East

Flaunt Boutique is a Leslieville institution, and we helped them open their newest location with sustainable flair. A 20’ tall green wall, hair dryers encased in ice, and an espresso bar make this repurposed industrial space more than your typical salon. The bones of the heritage building were uncovered and celebrated, with new furnishings made of plywood and raw steel to mirror the existing aesthetic.

Project Architect:
Craig Race
Clarkson Residence - Projects Sustainable.TO Architecture + Building

Sustainable.TO

Clarkson Residence

Sustainable Mississauga Home Renovation

The Clarkson Residence was a full-gut renovation, with a rear addition. The original home had a very compartmentalized layout with small, separated living room, dining room, kitchen, and den. We worked with the clients to create a more open-concept home with modern appointments, while still preserving the privacy and functionality of the original layout. The final design is airy and bright, with a strong connection to the rear yard and patio, with carefully placed privacy walls that keep the spaces intimate and cozy without losing flow or connection. After walking through the very private front entry, this home opens itself to large, versatile social spaces and a big rear yard.

Location:
Mississauga, ON
Completion:
2015
Project Architect:
Craig Race
Contractors
Modus Homes
Crawford Street - Projects Sustainable.TO Architecture + Building

Sustainable.TO

Crawford Street

Full Renovation with Basement Suite, Rear Addition, and Third-Floor Top-Up

Full Renovation with Basement Suite, Rear Addition, and Third-Floor Top-Up

Location:
Toronto, ON
Completion:
2015
Area:
354 m², 3,810 ft²
Project Lead:
Nicholas Discenza
Structural:
Mott MacDonald
Mechanical:
Alpha Comfort Control
Contractor:
Craig Schreiber, Arundel Contracting
Horseshoe Lake - Projects Sustainable.TO Architecture + Building

Sustainable.TO

Horseshoe Lake

Sustainable Cottage Addition near Minden, Ontario

Paul’s first private commission upon gradating from school, this addition borrows cues from an established language to create much-needed additional space. The design intent is to add space that looks as though it has always been there; with durable, local materials and with a design that promotes free-cooling through natural ventilation strategies.

Location:
Minden, ON
Project Lead:
Paul Dowsett
West Five - Projects Sustainable.TO Architecture + Building

Sustainable.TO

West Five

Proposal for Energy Efficient Townhome Community in London, Ontario

SUSTAINABLE.TO’s vision for a smart, sustainable net-zero community, submitted as part of an RFP solicited by Sifton Properties Limited. The design for Phase One sought to minimize the environmental impact of the development by carefully considering vehicular traffic to minimize the amount of hard paving required; planning ample greenspace and resilient landscaping to naturally manage rainwater & provide passive shading; and optimize solar orientation to take advantage of passive solar heat gain during the winter months and capitalize on energy production through roof-mounted solar photovoltaic panels. Above code-average insulation, highly reflective light-coloured roofing, and efficient triple-glazed windows contributed to the reduction of energy needed to keep the townhomes comfortable throughout year.

Location:
London, ON
Area:
25,000 m² (6 acres)
Project Lead:
Nicholas Discenza
Planner:
Alison Brooks
Civil & Structural Engineers:
Strik Baldinelli Moniz
Landscaping:
b.sq. Landscape Design Studio Inc.
Kingston Road - Projects Sustainable.TO Architecture + Building

Sustainable.TO

Kingston Road

Deep Green Renovation of a Century-Old Family Home in the Beach

Deep Green Renovation of a Century-Old Family Home in the Beach

Location:
Toronto, ON
Completion:
2014
Area:
435 m², 4,682 ft²
Project Lead:
Nicholas Discenza
Mechanical:
Joseph Dulong
The Vault - Projects Sustainable.TO Architecture + Building

Sustainable.TO

The Vault

Adaptive Reuse of Former Bank of Canada Vault to Shared Office Space

Located in the former historic Bank of Canada Building, the Vault is a modern lounge and event space which services the shared office spaces by iQ Office Suites, located on the floors above. Stepping through over two feet of concrete and steel, which was used to protect the country’s gold and currency reserves, one steps into a sleek and light-filled environment where they will forget they are underground. The vault offers a variety of meeting rooms, a bar, dining areas, and even a putting green. S.TO performed design, Building Code, fire, and life safety analysis, to acquire permits and approvals for this adaptive reuse project.

Location:
250 University Avenue, Toronto, ON
Completion:
2015
Area:
417 m², 4,490 ft²
Project Lead:
Steve Socha
Office Space By:
iQ Office Suites
Project Designer:
AME Design Associates
Contractor:
PCI Construction Group
Wild for Bees® 2015 - Projects Sustainable.TO Architecture + Building

Sustainable.TO

Wild for Bees® 2015

Burt's Bees, Fairmont Hotels, and Pollinator Partnership Bee Hotels

Look around you: nearly every tree, plant, fruit and vegetable in your sight is the product of animal pollination. Bees are the most effective animal pollinators of all; they travel from plant to plant, flower to flower, to help buds bloom and keep the ecosystem in sync. Our wild, native pollinator bees are the most effective of the bees. They make up over 90% of the bee population and work independently to spread pollen. As they are facing rapid decline, these solitary native pollinator bees need both food sources and resting places. Pollinator gardens provide the former, while bee hotels (sustainable resting spaces for these solitary native pollinator bees) provide the latter. Unlike honeybees, these native bees nest individually, without a queen or hive. Equally important, native bees are not prone to sting.

Building on the success of the 2014 campaign, SUSTAINABLE.TO along with our partners Burt’s Bees, Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, and the Pollinator Partnership Canada worked to expand beyond the GTA and spread the buzz from coast to coast.

SUSTAINABLE.TO designed a unique bee hotel for 6 Fairmont Hotels stretching from Vancouver to Quebec City. Working with staff on the ground in each location to secure materials destined for the trash, we then traveled to each city to construct these pollinator habitats on site. At Fairmont Waterfront Vancouver, the bee hotel was built by a local group, Hives for Humanity, who are already involved with the hotel and their bee program.

The project has been featured in media across the country, including CBC News, Global News, and the Toronto Star. The bee hotels have also displayed as part of various events across Toronto, including: Canada Blooms; 100in1Day at Withrow Park farmers’ Market; Toronto Botanical Garden’s UP Express Pop-up; TBG’s Earth Month installation at First Canadian Place; the Exchange Tower’s Earth Week installation; and Fairmount Park Farmers’ Market.

Locations:
Fairmont Chateau Frontenac, Fairmont Chateau Laurier, Fairmont Hotel Winnipeg, Fairmont Hotel Macdonald, Fairmont Chateau Whistler, Fairmont Waterfront Vancouver
Completion:
2015
Project Lead:
Joel Gilbert Anderson
Partners:
Burt's Bees, Fairmont Hotels, and Pollinator Partnership
Materials:
Entirely sourced reclaimed material from each site, including materials removed during renovations, or leftover materials.
Logan Avenue Residence - Projects Sustainable.TO Architecture + Building

Sustainable.TO

Logan Avenue Residence

Interior Re-Configurations & Exterior Re-Cladding

Our client desired an extensive sustainable renovation to their existing three storey home that not only maintained the natural light, but retained sight-lines from the living room to the back lane.

SUSTAINABLE.TO measures included new in-floor radiant heating, a re-modeled kitchen to provide more counter space and storage, an updated living/dining space, increased storage area in the mudroom, a powder room at the front entry, and new master suite, which included an en-suite washroom. Replacement windows at the back of the house contributed to additional energy-efficiency savings.

The result was a light-filled, coherent home with clean lines utilizing beautiful natural materials - white walls, ceilings and cabinets with pale wood floors and cabinetry accents – and a very happy client.

Location:
Toronto, ON
Completion:
2015
Area:
212 m², 2,282 ft²
Project Lead:
Steve Socha
Structural:
KH Davis Engineering Consultants Ltd.
Mechanical:
Alpha Comfort Control
Contractor:
Plumb Construction
Photography:
NGDphotography
Elmwood Residence - Projects Sustainable.TO Architecture + Building

Sustainable.TO

Elmwood Residence

North York Passive Solar Eco-Home

This replacement home in North York was designed to meet the understated traditional preferences of the clients, making use of durable and natural materials such as stone and brick. Generous south-facing windows take advantage of passive solar heat gain in the winter time to reduce the home’s dependence on fossil fuels to meet it’s heating load. Above-code minimum insulation means this home retains warmth longer in the winter time, and stays cooler for longer during the summer time.

Location:
North York
Completion:
2014
Area:
329 m², 3,544 ft²
Project Lead:
Donald Peckover
Energy Use Intensity:
Estimated: 174 kWh/m²
Reduction in Energy Use from Typical:
37%
Alternative Energy:
Generation Solar
Lighting:
DarkTools
Contractor
Greenbilt Homes
Davisville Phased Addition - Projects Sustainable.TO Architecture + Building

Sustainable.TO

Davisville Phased Addition

Sustainable Renovation and Addition to Existing Masonry Home

Phases 1 included a basement renovation, utilizing new structure to create an open concept plan. Subsequent phases provided new second floor additions to both the front and rear of the house, to add a new high-end washroom and sitting room. The ground floor kitchen was completely renovated and expanded by removing underutilized space and incorporating it into the new kitchen. The whole house was over-clad with Comfort board insulation and new wood siding to eliminate thermal bridging and create a highly insulated structure, while utilizing the thermal mass of the existing masonry walls.

Location:
Toronto, ON
Completion:
2014
Area:
149 m², 1602 ft²
Project Lead:
Steve Socha
Kitchens:
Bellini
Mud House - Projects Sustainable.TO Architecture + Building

Sustainable.TO

Mud House

Reinvention of an African Mud Hut

Mud homes have traditionally been constructed in Ghana, but have fallen out of favour due to a perception that the method is cheap, old, and difficult to maintain. This is not necessarily true, as Ghana has rich laterite soil which is well-suited to earth construction. A new and innovative design in a vibrant urban community can promote earth construction as modest, affordable, and appropriate to the locale and to create a shift in construction from imported materials like concrete back to natural materials. The proposed design in Obuasi should provide a catalyst for new, owner-built homes in the region made out of earth and other affordable local materials.

Obuasi is a cosmopolitan city in the Ashanti region of Ghana, featuring a rich history of international involvement through its gold mining operations. There has recently been a shift from deep shaft mining to surface mining, which has led to an abundance of available laterite, perfect for building. Residents of Obuasi build their own homes in the metropolitan centre close to amenities and services, leading to a dense development of homes of many shapes, sizes, and styles. A new modern home in the neighbourhood would fit well with the diverse building vernacular. The proposed resident for this design is a mine worker and his brother – a local merchant – along with their immediate families. They will be able to readily acquire laterite from the mines and building materials from the town, and assemble the structure.

The proposed design draws from the traditional courtyard house, featuring a central open area protected from the street by a wood screen walls with doors. The living spaces (bedrooms, living room) are located to the east to take advantage of the prevailing northeast winds, and also to avoid the hot afternoon and evening sun. The service rooms (kitchen, latrine, storage) are located to the west, separate from the living spaces to avoid sound, odours, and heat from cooking and the hot sun. The exterior walls feature ventilation slits around the perimeter to permit air flow from all sides while also providing privacy and security.

Natural ventilation is very important in the proposed design, with the angled roof panels capturing wind and diverting it into the home, and slits in the exterior walls capturing air from all sides. Interior partitions are permeable, so that air can pass through; and do not extend to the roof so that air can pass over. The wood floor is raised in the living area so that air can circulate under the floor, from the exterior ventilation slits, between the joists, and through gaps in the flooring. The kitchen is separate from the living space, so that heat from cooking can vent out through the courtyard rather than into the living spaces. These measures ensure that the home does not get overheated, and fresh air is constantly provided to the inhabitants.

To promote earth construction the proposed design features exterior rammed earth walls. Constructed with two widths of forms (5’-1” wide and 6’-6” wide), two sections of wall can continuously be under construction while other elements such as roof trusses and partitions can be built at the same time, increasing construction efficiency. Wood truss roofs with large overhangs protect the rammed earth walls from rain and direct sun. All framing is to be Dahoma wood as it is fast-growing, abundant, inexpensive, and durable. The trusses lift the roof surface above the rammed earth walls to capture natural ventilation on all sides. The roof sections are covered with corrugated metal panels, a cheap and effective material which also reflects a lot of incoming solar heat. Water is directed from the roofs through gutters and downspouts to grade to avoid infiltration into the interior.

Location:
Obuasi, Ghana
Area:
103 m², 1110 ft²
Completion:
2014
Client:
NKA Foundation
Competition:
Mud House Design 2014: Reinventing the African Mud Hut Together
Project Leader:
Donald Peckover
Budget:
$5,994.13
METHOD.TO - Projects Sustainable.TO Architecture + Building

Sustainable.TO

METHOD.TO

Residential Construction Method for Toronto Climate

SUSTAINABLE.TO is literally pushing the envelope.

Toronto’s climate challenges how we construct our homes and buildings. We have very cold winters and hot, humid summers, so great stresses are placed on the building envelope. Imagine a winter when the inside surface of the wall is 20°C, and the outside surface is -10°C. That’s a 30°C difference your wall has to maintain!

The challenge: to reduce the heat loss of our homes using a thin, efficient wall that is suitable for Toronto’s narrow properties. Traditional homes are wood-framed, either 2x4 or 2x6, and filled with batt insulation. We have been building our homes this way for over a century - not because it makes sense, but because our thinking has not evolved to suit the current rising cost of energy and expectations for occupant comfort.

Modern building science has evolved our understanding of how buildings perform, and has led us to a few realizations; we don’t use enough insulation, and heat loss through the studs is greatly reducing the effectiveness of the insulation we use.

Many houses in Ontario are seeing the value in adding an inch or two of exterior insulation, but that is just the beginning. At S.TO, we have a dream. We see the future of the building envelope in cold climates like Toronto, and it looks something like this:

  • More insulation! And more effective insulation.
  • Insulation is on the EXTERIOR of the structure, improving its effectiveness and increasing the lifespan of the structure by keeping it warm.
  • There is only ONE CONTINUOUS MEMBRANE wrapping the structure, that will improve air-tightness and better manage water, moisture and vapour.

In order to realize our dream, the team at SUSTAINABLE.TO is building a test structure to leave in place over the winter. We will be testing it to verify its effectiveness, improve construct-ability, and fine-tune it for future projects.

Stay tuned for more on METHOD.TO

Location
Toronto, ON
Area
35sq.ft.
Project Architect:
Craig Race
Insulation Provider
Roxul
Contractors
Modus Homes
Greenbilt Homes
Window Provider
Ridley Windows & Doors
Building Products Provider
Herrmann's Timber-Frame Homes
Passive East York Home - Projects Sustainable.TO Architecture + Building

Sustainable.TO

Passive East York Home

Bungalow Addition and Renovation

Our clients asked us to design an extensive renovation and second floor addition to their existing bungalow, which the family had outgrown. While maintaining only some basement walls, the goals of the new home were to maximize natural light, utilize natural ventilation through stack effect, and incorporate principles of Feng Shui to create a healthy, naturally lit, open concept design.

SUSTAINABLE.TO’s strategies for this home included a highly insulated and airtight exterior envelope, new in-floor radiant heating, solar-ready hardware for future solar hot-water and solar photovoltaic systems, durable materials such as galvalume roofing, and operable clerestory windows.

The result will be a light-filled, coherent home with clean lines and beautiful natural materials that will reduce energy demand, while increasing health and happiness of the homeowners.

Location:
East York, ON
Completion:
2015
Area:
200 m², 2,153 ft²
Project Lead:
Steve Socha
Energy Intensity:
Estimated: 115 kWh/m²
Reduction in Energy Use from Typical:
58%
Structural:
KH Davis Engineering Consultants Ltd.
Mechanical:
Alpha Comfort Control
Contractor:
Plumb Construction
Frog’s Hollow - Projects Sustainable.TO Architecture + Building

Sustainable.TO

Frog’s Hollow

Passive Solar, Off-Grid, Reclaimed Barn Timber Post & Beam House

In the words of the Owner:

“It has taken a number of years, loads of magazines, hours on the internet, and lots of helpful discussions, however the land and the things that have been added all feel right and I think this is what makes people feel at peace here. I bought a ploughed field but in my mind’s eye I could see what it could become. I didn’t start off to build a timber frame house. but I did set out to build a house that was old & settled! Being off-grid evolved as a moral and financial decision and to rise to a challenge.

With the help of numerous people who have given their enthusiasm, skills and input to an unusual project we have succeeded in creating a fully integrated, functional timber frame home of 2,700sq. ft. using reclaimed materials and modem technology. The result Is a home that is still evolving and will not be finished until it is. The answers to what to do in a given situation show themselves when ready.

By designing the house as a package, although we have less hydro, we need very little and we lack for nothing. Such heat we generate, we hold on to and there is not so much heat build up in summer that cannot be dissipated by the natural breezes. In living in such a home, one is more attuned to natural events. When the flag is whipping the extra wind will power extra laundry or just leave all the porch lights on for the evening! The rain will fill the tanks and rain water is lovely and soft to wash in. Sunny days, summer or winter mean long hot showers - for free! Light the sauna, put on the snowshoes tramp through the bush and when you return tired and snow-covered, head for the sauna. Then relax in front of the fire with a glass of something tasty, a riveting book, lovely music and good friends.

What more does one want ?”

Location:
Meaford, ON
Completion:
2003
Area:
251 m², 2,700 ft²
Solar PV Capacity:
0.5 kW
Wind Generator Capacity:
3 kW
Alternative Energy:
Generation Solar
Principal-in-Charge:
(Scott Morris Architects Inc.) Paul Dowsett, Architect
Boone Residence - Projects Sustainable.TO Architecture + Building

Sustainable.TO

Boone Residence

Sustainable Renovation/Addition

The Boone Residence in Peterborough is the home of solar guru, Simon Boone of Generation Solar. The addition and renovation links the heritage cottage to the garage /workshop. The structure of the addition is reclaimed barn timber post & beam, with infill rammed-earth blocks for thermal mass, and exterior wood cladding for durability and to complement the surrounding houses.

Location:
Peterborough, ON
Completion:
2009
Alternative Energy:
Generation Solar
Principal-in-Charge:
(Scott Morris Architects Inc.) Paul Dowsett, Architect
MacPherson - Projects Sustainable.TO Architecture + Building

Sustainable.TO

MacPherson

Annex Green Roof Garage

Single-Car Green Roof Garage in the Annex

Project Lead:
Nicholas Discenza
Spring Garden - Projects Sustainable.TO Architecture + Building

Sustainable.TO

Spring Garden

North York Passive Solar Eco-Home

This replacement home in North York was designed to bridge the gap between its traditional neighbours, and the contemporary preferences of the clients. Its roof line is broken to create a contemporary re-thinking of a traditional house shape, and to facilitate passive ventilation and natural daylighting into the middle of the home - the form follows the function. A ventilated solarium on the south facade is the sustainable engine of the home. In the winter, it captures solar radiation to warm the house. In the summer, it both shades the home and produces negative air-pressure using stack-effect principles to passively ventilate the home.

Location:
North York, ON
Completion:
2014
Area:
353 m², 3,800ft²
Project Lead:
Craig Race
Energy Use Intensity:
Actual:134 kWh/m²
Reduction in Energy Use from Typical:
52%
microFIT Capacity:
10 kW
Energy Generation:
10,144 kWh/yr
Alternative Energy:
Generation Solar
Lighting:
DarkTools
Contractor:
Berkim Construction
Woodfield Home - Projects Sustainable.TO Architecture + Building

Sustainable.TO

Woodfield Home

Leslieville Renovation and Addition

No longer content with their squeaky floors and aging home, the couple living in this Woodfield Road house decided to renovate and to build an addition to create a living environment better geared to their lifestyle.

Ground floor renovations involved strategically removing interior walls and strengthening the floor joists, thus creating open-concept kitchen and dining areas, better integrating the different functions of the house. A new living room addition at the back added to the floor space and openness of the ground floor, and with the careful design of Juliet balconies with views to a park, integrates the raised house with its back garden.

Renovations to the second floor involved strengthening the floor joists and creating an ensuite bathroom out of part of an underused bedroom to support a new principal bedroom overlooking the garden and park.

The new addition clad in Galvalume metal siding and roofing provides a resilient exterior envelope. Along the covered back entrance deck, charred, shou-sugi ban wood provides a sense of warmth as people enter the home from the garden. A new landscaped walk-out also provides an additional living space at the rear of the house and connects the garden with lower level of the house.

Location:
Toronto, ON
Completion:
2015
Area:
160 m², 1,720 ft²
Project Lead:
Karl Van Es
Structural:
Gabris Associates
Mechanical:
World of Comfort Ltd.
Contractor:
First Place Capital Inc.
BRE Innovation Park @ The Living City Campus - Projects Sustainable.TO Architecture + Building

Sustainable.TO

BRE Innovation Park @ The Living City Campus

Sustainable Housing Demonstration Master Plan for the TRCA Kortright Centre for Conservation

Located within the TRCA Kortright Centre for Conservation, the BRE Innovation Park will enhance the Living City Campus surrounding the Archetype Sustainable House. Consisting of seven demonstration buildings, including a scale commercial building and six residential buildings, targeted design themes include: Refurbishment; Accessibility; Assisted Living and Health; Climate Change Resilience; Net Zero/Net Positive Energy and Storage; Affordability; Passive House; DC Smart Grid and MicroGrid; Low Impact Construction; and First Nations Housing.

In addition to being a Gold Sponsor for the project, SUSTAINABLE.TO is developing the overall site plan and vision for the park.

Location:
Vaughan, ON
Completion:
2015
Area:
1.2 ac
Client:
BRE Canada, TRCA
Project Lead:
Craig Race
Civil:
Mott MacDonald
Geotechnical:
Civica Infrastructure
Mechanical:
TMIG
Electrical:
Cricket Energy
Sky-o-Swale® + Storefront Sports Court - Projects Sustainable.TO Architecture + Building

Sustainable.TO

Sky-o-Swale® + Storefront Sports Court

Green Roof Shade Structure & MLSE /Jumpstart Play Area

What’s a Sky-o-swale® Green Roof Shade Structure?

The Sky-o-swale® Green Roof Shade Structure is a shade-water structure that filters rainwater through a green roof, into an underground cistern. The water is used to irrigate the Community R.O.S.E. (Roots Of Scarborough East) Garden. More than that, the Sky-o-swale® Green Roof Shade Structure is a shaded community gathering space—a stage for performances and seating for the Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment (MLSE) /Jumpstart sports pad! It’s a wondrous structure, with a truly amazing “made in KGO” history.

The History

The idea for the Sky-o-swale® Green Roof Shade Structure was co-created by local youth with their architect mentors.

The Sky-o-swale® Green Roof Shade Structure originated as a creative response to a physical conundrum. Provided with funds to build a bio-swale by Live Green Toronto, local youth were disappointed to learn that the soil at The Storefront would not allow for the necessary water filtration. Undeterred, the youth and architect mentors from archiTEXT, SUSTAINABLE.TO and ERA Architects, came up with a creative solution: put the bio-swale on a shade structure “in the sky.” And with that, the idea for the Sky-o-swale® Green Roof Shade Structure was born.

In true Storefront fashion, the Sky-o-swale® Green Roof Shade Structure began to take shape through complex collaboration. Storefront staff were funded by TD Friends of the Environment to bring together partners who supplied the component parts of the Sky-o-swale® Green Roof Shade Structure: wood decking from the Venice Biennale’s Migrating Landscapes, hydro poles donated by Toronto Hydro, pop bottle crates for planting boxes from Orbis Corporation, rain barrels from Toronto Regional Conservation Authority, chain-link fence from around The Storefront’s building (which used to be a police station), pump and seating provided through the Ontario Trillium Foundation, the creativity and ingenuity of ERA, SUSTAINABLE.TO, Blackwell Engineers, Tensile Integrity and AtomsEco, along with an incredible amount of people power from local residents and Telus and RBC volunteers.

The next hurdle was financial. Like the design itself, the funding for the Sky-o-swale® Green Roof Shade Structure became a collaborative endeavour. Toronto Community Foundation fund-holders the J. Douglas Crashley Fund and the James Rutley Grand Memorial Fund generously joined original funders Live Green Toronto so the construction could begin.

But the breadth and scope of this collaboration was destined to be bigger yet…

Projects Converging

As one of the original United Way Toronto Tower Neighbourhood Renewal demonstration sites, Storefront staff along with multiple partners including CAPREIT, the City Tower Renewal office, the Metcalf Foundation, Parks People, Centre for City Ecology, Expect Theatre, Toronto Regional Conservation Authority, archiTEXT, ERA and SUSTAINABLE.TO, leant their support to local residents. Together they worked to re-imagine the space surrounding their apartment towers to encourage community gathering, celebration and play. One of their dreams was a sports court that could accommodate multiple sports. This dream was captured in an ERA artist rendering of the Sky-o-swale® Green Roof Shade Structure, which included children playing soccer as the Sky-o-swale® Green Roof Shade Structure foreground. When United Way Toronto brought MLSE to the table, the rendering caught their attention and a new partnership was born.

And the collaborations continued. Before all this was built, the good will and collaborative spirit of companies like Direct Construction, Pristine Property and Starbucks all played a role in turning this complex dream into a reality.

The Legacy

Once upon a time, an old rusty water tower was the neighbourhood’s landmark. As of 2014, the Sky-o-swale® Green Roof Shade Structure and the community sports pad will be icons, demonstrating to the community and to the world at large just what can be accomplished when we start by investing in local youth and bring all of our talents and resources together to support them and their dreams.

- Anne Gloger: Director, East Scarborough Storefront

Location:
Scarborough, ON
Completion:
August, 2014
Client:
East Scarborough Storefront
Design:
KGO Youth
Project Lead:
Steve Socha
Community Design Lead:
archiTEXT Inc.
Landscape:
E.R.A. Architects
Structural:
Blackwell Engineering & Tensile Integrity
Contractor:
Direct Construction Ltd.
Yam Chops - Projects Sustainable.TO Architecture + Building

Sustainable.TO

Yam Chops

Little Italy Vegetarian Butcher Shop

Yam Chops is a vegetarian butcher shop in Little Italy that prepares vegetarian and vegan, plant-based protein alternatives. That’s burgers, sausages, tuna salad, and a lot more, all made of vegetables ! The shop is decorated with butcher-related equipment like meat scales and cleavers to pay homage to the concept of the food. Perfect for vegans, vegetarians, flexitarians, and even omnivores. You will not know that there is no animal-based protein, and you won’t miss it either !!

Location:
Little Italy, Toronto, ON
Completion:
2014
Area:
279 m², 3,000 ft²
Project Architect:
Craig Race
Design & Construction Management:
M&A Design Group
Marissa Agueci
Technical Drawings & Approvals:
SUSTAINABLE.TO
Client:
Yam Chops
The Flying Pony Cafe - Projects Sustainable.TO Architecture + Building

Sustainable.TO

The Flying Pony Cafe

Mixed-Use Coffee Shop, Art Gallery, and Residence in Little India

The Flying Pony is a mixed-use cafe, gallery, studio, and residence for artist Andrew Horne. The renovation and addition of the historic building fuses the artist’s life and work with the street life of Little India. The cafe fronting Gerrard St. is open and welcoming to lovers of coffee, literature, and art. As one moves deeper into the building, they progress through and up a heirarchy of spaces, starting with a private gallery and group room, the residence, and the studio.

Location:
Toronto, ON
Completion:
2013
Area:
325 m², 3,500 ft²
Project Lead:
Craig Race
Client:
Andrew Horne
Flying Pony Gallery
New Orleans - Projects Sustainable.TO Architecture + Building

Sustainable.TO

New Orleans

Modern Low-Cost, Low-Energy Passive House for the Lower 9th Ward

International competition-winning entry to a challenge posted by Design by Many, the Low Cost/Low Energy Passive House for New Orleans employs an efficient linear organization, and very simply integrates both passive and active climate regulation systems. The Passive House for New Orleans design conforms to both the post-Katrina New Orleans building code, ensuring security in case of flooding; as well as principles of the stringent, German PassivHaus standard; resulting in a highly resource and energy-efficient design. This is accomplished through features such as: an optimized insulation strategy; a highly airtight building envelope; concrete floors as thermal mass; deep roof overhangs to provide passive solar protection in the summer while allowing passive solar heat gain in the winter; and an elevated floor height raised seven feet above-grade, providing both flood resilience in the Lower 9th Ward and shaded parking and living spaces below. Additionally, highly reflective, self-venting, recyclable Galvalume roofing and exterior cladding; an east/west axis to address natural ventilation and day lighting; and a simple, prefabricated construction process minimize upfront construction costs and achieve an astonishing degree of energy-efficiency.

In the wake of the 2005 Hurricane Katrina, SUSTAINABLE.TO noticed that not only were the 19th century “shotgun houses” prevalent among the structures remaining intact and habitable, but they were also very beautiful in their own right. With high ceilings and local, cypress wood-frame construction, the Low Cost/Low Energy Passive House for New Orleans keeps true to its architectural heritage, while maintaining a high level of appeal in the 21st-century.

Location:
New Orleans
Completion:
2013
Area:
149 m², 1,600 ft²
Project Lead:
Paul Dowsett
Energy Use Intensity:
Estimated: 96 kWh/m²
Reduction in Energy Use from Typical:
65%
New Orleans v2 - Projects Sustainable.TO Architecture + Building

Sustainable.TO

New Orleans v2

Post-Katrina Traditional Passive House for Central City

Through conversations with local redevelopment agencies and residents, SUSTAINABLE.TO learned that the post-Katrina New Orleans housing market demand is for beautiful, affordable, single-family homes built in the traditional New Orleans style. In response to this local preference, we have designed the exterior of this modular New Orleans Home to better reflect local traditional styling, while maintaining Passive House sustainable strategies to reduce the home’s energy consumption and to improve interior comfort.

We were asked by the St. Bernard Project (SBP) to design a model home for the 2014 New Orleans Home and Garden show to spread the word about the work they are doing throughout New Orleans. SBP volunteers had 72 hours to assemble the house inside the Superdome – studs, siding, flooring and roof – before the show opened on March 14th. After the show, the house was taken apart to be rebuilt for a deserving New Orleans family.

The house is designed to be constructed from a kit of standardized, volunteer-friendly, pre-built parts. An illustrated booklet details step-by-step instructions for the construction and assembly each individual component – similar to a piece of IKEA furniture. The parts are pre-built in a controlled environment – keeping volunteers sheltered from the elements – and can then be shipped to affected areas for rapid disaster relief. Because the kit of parts can be mass produced by volunteers, construction costs are minimized when compared to a traditional build.

Location:
New Orleans
Completion:
2013
Area:
149 m², 1,600 ft²
Project Lead:
Nicholas Discenza
Energy Use Intensity:
Estimated: 94 kWh/m²
Reduction in Energy Use from Typical:
65%
Resilient House - Projects Sustainable.TO Architecture + Building

Sustainable.TO

Resilient House

Post Hurricane Sandy Low-Cost Passive House for New York

Winner of the American Institute of Architects (AIA)-sponsored international competition, Resilient House for Far Rockaway, New York has a layout which orients living spaces towards the sun, and minimizes interior partitions. Structurally insulated panels (SIPS) allow for a tightly-sealed and highly-insulated building enclosure. Combined with a highly-efficient, managed ventilation system and upgraded windows, these design strategies achieve a projected 65% reduction in annual energy consumption. The house will be built by Friends of Rockaway according to FEMA regulations above the floodplain with a flood-proof foundation to ensure that future natural disasters will not affect the structure. By using in-factory, pre-fabricated, volunteer-friendly construction methods and equipment, Resilient House can be built for less than traditional, site-built housing.

Location:
Far Rockaway, NY
Completion:
2013
Area:
155 m², 1,666 ft²
Project Architect:
Craig Race
Energy Use Intensity:
Estimated: 96 kWh/m²
Reduction in Energy Use from Typical:
65%
Hill Crescent - Projects Sustainable.TO Architecture + Building

Sustainable.TO

Hill Crescent

Traditional House Deep Green Addition and Renovation

Hill Crescent Home is the result of a deep green resource and energy-efficient retrofit with thoughtful additions. Designed for a family that loves to cook and to entertain, this renovation and addition to a 1940’s home takes full advantage of the existing site orientation to highlight spectacular views into a wooded lot, while capturing the benefits of cooling east/west breezes for natural cross ventilation in the summer. South-facing windows allow passive solar heat gain during the winter, while west-facing shade overhangs reduce unwanted summer solar heat gain.

Location:
Scarborough, ON
Completion:
2010
Area:
675 m², 7,267 ft²
Project Lead:
Donald Peckover
Structural:
K H Davis Consulting Engineers
Mechanical:
Elite HVAC
Lighting:
DarkTools
Contractor:
Plumb Construction
Rosedale Residence - Projects Sustainable.TO Architecture + Building

Sustainable.TO

Rosedale Residence

Modern Triplex Renovation and Addition

Strategic, sensible renovations and additions to this mid-century “Toronto Special” triplex have transformed it into a remarkable single family home. Using the existing site orientation, the Rosedale Rachael Street Residence takes advantage of attractive vistas and cooling breezes from the adjacent ravine. A thoughtful combination of sustainable strategies result in an ideal solution for empty-nesters who love to entertain in a showcase for their mid-century modern furniture collection.

Approvals included Heritage, TRCA, Ravine By-Law, Committee of Adjustment, and Urban Forestry.

Location:
Toronto, ON
Completion:
2012
Area:
485 m², 5,221 ft²
Project Lead:
Donald Peckover
Structural:
K H Davis Consulting Engineers
Kitchen:
GibsonGreenwood
Lighting:
DarkTools
Brooklawn Residence - Projects Sustainable.TO Architecture + Building

Sustainable.TO

Brooklawn Residence

Deep Green Replacement Home

Honouring the home owner’s desire to respect the mid-century architectural heritage of their street, while dramatically improving the resource and energy-efficiency of their home, a dated, post-war bungalow has been turned into a beautiful, contemporary two-storey home. This addition and deep green retrofit makes full use of the existing site, taking advantage of beautiful views and cooling breezes from nearby Lake Ontario, while providing a noontime shaded patio. A thoughtful combination of passive design strategies such as day lighting and shading, highly effective insulation, reflective and self-venting Galvalume roofing, energy efficient doors and windows, solar thermal hot water heating, hydronic radiant floor heating, and optimal reuse of original materials helps to create a stunning showcase of comfort and sustainability.

Location:
Scarborough, ON
Completion:
2009
Project Lead
Paul Dowsett
Contractor:
Sustainable Building Services Inc.
Principal-in-Charge 2007-2008:
(Scott Morris Architects Inc.) Paul Dowsett, Architect
Principal-in-Charge 2009-2013:
(Paul Dowsett Architecture Inc. o/a SUSTAINABLE.TO) Paul Dowsett, Architect
Wellington County Farmhouse - Projects Sustainable.TO Architecture + Building

Sustainable.TO

Wellington County Farmhouse

Fully-Accessible Energy-Efficient Addition and Renovation

Many of the charming and distinctive features of the original farmhouse were carefully considered and incorporated into the design of these fully-accessible, resource and energy-efficient additions and renovations. Generous glazing naturally illuminates the dining room, while careful selection and placement of bathroom fixtures ensures accessibility and inclusivity for all. This traditional, century-old home in rural Ontario is now equipped to meet the special needs of a dynamic 21st-century family.

Location:
Wellington County, ON
Completion:
2011
Area:
705 m², 7,585 ft²
Project Lead:
Donald Peckover
Heritage:
Paul Dowsett
Solarium:
Perma-wood
Contractor:
Country Lane Builders
Principal-in-Charge 2006-2008:
(Scott Morris Architects Inc.) Paul Dowsett, Architect
Principal-in-Charge 2009-2011:
(Paul Dowsett Architecture Inc. o/a SUSTAINABLE.TO) Paul Dowsett, Architect
Danforth Home - Projects Sustainable.TO Architecture + Building

Sustainable.TO

Danforth Home

Sustainable Renovation/Addition

This renovation project of a detached, 2-1/2 storey home near The Danforth has allowed the family to maintain their familiar surroundings and neighbourhood connections, while also updating their existing home to include sustainable 21st-century practices, materials, and technologies. A complete interior renovation, the ground floor was opened up to create a large open room, with Kitchen at the front of the house, Dining in the middle, and Living connected the rear garden. The back wall of the house features a huge sliding panoramic door to allow for easy access to a large rear deck for eating and entertaining. With the open floor plan inside, it is possible for all rooms to be used separately, while maintaining connections, with food prep in the Kitchen, homework in the Dining Room, and relaxing in the Living Room.

The second floor features new bathrooms and renovated bedrooms, updating the previous floor plan and installing new fixtures and finishes throughout. Access to the third floor - within the gable roof space - was repositioned above the existing stairs, with dormers added on both sides of the house to provide additional headroom. While this floor was previously a large open space with compromised headroom, it now features full headroom for a new bedroom, bathroom, and study.

The home features a durable, self-venting Galvalume roof which lowers the cooling load of the home in the summer time. The home uses three small, wall-mounted air-source heat-pump units (one on each of the above-grade floors) to address cooling in the summer. Located in central hallway areas, these units are much more efficient than a comparable ducted air conditioning system interconnected on all three floors, and with individual thermostats on each floor, allow for fine-tuning to reduce the cooling energy on floors which may not be in use, or to dedicate energy to those floors that require additional cooling. In-floor radiant heat is featured on the ground floor, with hot-water radiators on the second and third floors. These are paired with a high-efficiency Heat Recovery Ventilator (HRV) to provide ventilation and fresh air to all levels.

All windows were replaced with well-sealed, aluminum-clad wood windows and openings were made air-tight, to reduce thermal loss through windows and air leakage through any gaps, including the large sliding panoramic door on the ground floor.

Approvals included Committee of Adjustment and Urban Forestry.

Location:
Toronto, ON
Completion:
2012
Area:
279 m², 3,000 ft²
Project Lead:
Donald Peckover
Structural:
K H Davis Consulting Engineers
Mechanical:
Elite HVAC
Contractor:
Severn Woods
West End Home - Projects Sustainable.TO Architecture + Building

Sustainable.TO

West End Home

Sustainable Renovation/Addition

Loathe to leave a neighbourhood they have grown to love, the family of this detached home in the West End decided to renovate and expand rather than move away from friends, neighbours, shops, amenities, and the primary school for their young children. A large-scale renovation on the ground floor removed walls and opened up the existing ground floor. An addition at the rear now features expansive glass, natural sunlight, views to the backyard, and access to a trellised deck. This Family Room is where meals are eaten, movies are watched, games are played, and homework is completed - truly a multi-purpose room for a 21st-century family.

The rear addition features radiant in-floor heat on all three levels (basement, ground, and second). This is coupled with a LifeBreath clean air furnace, which is similar to a typical gas-fired boiler but uses a hot water radiant coil which keeps the air clean and reduces harmful toxins. This clean air furnace also has an integrated Heat Recovery Ventilator to provide fresh air ventilation, and is connected to a humidifier to provide a comfortable indoor environment.

Upstairs the existing Master Bedroom was expanded to the rear to include a private oasis. Featuring cathedral ceilings, this space encompasses an ensuite bathroom that opens up onto a private study for work and relaxation. The initial mandate from the homeowners was for an energy-efficient, healthy home to reduce their energy consumption (and therefore their monthly bills) but also to create a comfortable environment for their family members, some of whom have asthma.

Natural construction materials were used - such as stone, wood, and Roxul insulation - and processed petroleum-based products were avoided - such as foams and plastics - to minimize material off-gassing and improve the indoor air quality.

Re-claimed, re-purposed, and updated fixtures & features are utilized throughout the home to add visual interest and aesthetic touches; for example, updated light fixtures also feature energy-efficient bulbs that represent significant energy savings over their initial consumption.

Location:
North York, ON
Completion:
2011
Area:
291 m², 3,135 ft²
Project Lead:
Donald Peckover
Structural:
Gabris and Associates Engineering
Mechanical:
Complete HVAC Design
The Home Project:
The Home Project
Lighting:
DarkTools
Beaches Heritage - Projects Sustainable.TO Architecture + Building

Sustainable.TO

Beaches Heritage

Sustainable Addition and Renovation to Queen Anne Historic Home

In response to the home owners’ desire to enhance the rich architectural heritage of the Toronto Beaches neighbourhood with resource and energy-efficient design, this addition and deep green renovation of a Heritage-listed, Queen Anne semi-detached home embodies our practical approach to sustainable design. The existing front of the house was largely retained with minor updates to improve energy-efficiency, repair faulty elements, and increase durability with new materials - all the while maintaining important Heritage elements and the character of the home. The energy-efficient rear and side addition maintains and expands upon the existing character of this spacious home.

Approvals included Heritage, TRCA and Urban Forestry.

Location:
Toronto, ON
Completion:
2011
Area:
433 m², 4,662 ft²
Project Lead:
Donald Peckover
Structural:
K H Davis Consulting Engineers
Mechanical:
Complete HVAC
Lighting:
DarkTools
Contractor:
Dirk Pfau
East Scarborough Storefront - Projects Sustainable.TO Architecture + Building

Sustainable.TO

East Scarborough Storefront

Community Design Initiative Expansion and Adaptive Re-use

The East Scarborough Storefront is an ongoing example of how community work can transform and empower an entire neighbourhood. Working collaboratively with the youth of the East Scarborough Storefront, through the Community.Design.Initiative with Storefront staff, archiTEXT Inc. and ERA Architects, SUSTAINABLE.TO is helping to create a fully-accessible, resource and energy-efficient, phased renovation and addition strategy that will see the transformation and deep green retrofit of a former police substation into a large, accessible and green community resource centre. The work completed to date is much-loved by the community.

In true community fashion, the skills, ideas and knowledge of local residents and agency partners have helped to create, as one example, an “Eco-Food Hub” as part of the overall revitalization, laying the foundations for various community-based environmental and food-oriented initiatives. The Storefront has been facilitating the work of agencies and residents in the priority neighbourhood of Kingston Galloway Orton Park (KGO) since 2001. Their real strength is actively listening to the community and developing structures to support their ideas, and SUSTAINABLE.TO is proud to lend a helping hand, as an ongoing partner. Happily, we feel like ‘family’!

Approvals have included Site Plan Control and Zoning Amendment.

Location:
Scarborough, ON
Renovation Area:
695m², 7,481ft²
Proposed Addition Area:
1,158m², 12,465ft²
Design:
KGO Youth
Project Lead:
Steve Socha
Community Design Lead:
archiTEXT Inc.
Landscape:
E.R.A. Architects
Structural:
Brown & co. Engineering Ltd.
Mechanical:
J.D. Hubbert and Associates
Electrical:
J.D. Hubbert and Associates
Contractor:
Direct Construction Ltd.
Willowdale Passive Solar House - Projects Sustainable.TO Architecture + Building

Sustainable.TO

Willowdale Passive Solar House

CMHC Healthy-Housing Award and LEED Gold

After years of considerably high energy bills, the owners decided to replace their post-war home with a brand-new, highly-efficient home that significantly offsets their energy bills by generating electricity that is sold to the electrical grid as part of Ontario’s microFIT Program. New construction of this grid-connected, passive solar, resource and energy-efficient single-family home in the established Toronto neighbourhood of Willowdale includes optimal use of existing site orientation, ground exchange heating and cooling, rooftop photovoltaic solar electric panels, and sun shading strategies. Self-venting, recyclable Galvalume roofing reflects unwanted solar heat gain, while hydronic radiant floor heating provides comfortable warmth where needed most and Durisol insulated concrete forms and polished concrete floors act as thermal mass, strategically absorbing and releasing heat and humidity to passively maintain a comfortable indoor living space.

SUSTAINABLE.TO are the first architects to be formally recognized by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) for our dedication to creating Healthy Housing. This award validates our approach to sustainable architecture: that a thoughtful approach combining the simple, sensitive and sustainable strategies will result in best possible indoor environmental quality, will decrease energy consumption, and will lead to a sustainable relationship with the biosphere.

Reductions in overall energy-demand through passive strategies, coupled with 10 kW of microFIT-connected solar electric panels on the roof, allow this home to have a net-positive cost of energy at a lower construction cost per sf than a typical Toronto home. A truly remarkable achievement.

Approvals included Committee of Adjustment and Urban Forestry.

Location:
North York, ON
Completion:
2012
Area:
396 m², 4,266 ft²
Project Lead:
Donald Peckover
Energy Intensity:
Estimated: 51 kWh/m²
Reduction in Energy Use from Typical:
82%
microFIT Capacity:
10 kW
Certification:
LEED Gold
LEED Consultant:
Clearsphere
Structural:
K H Davis Consulting Engineers
Mechanical:
Alpha Comfort Control
Landscape:
Andrew Robertson
Contractor:
Greenbilt Homes
Queen Victoria House - Projects Sustainable.TO Architecture + Building

Sustainable.TO

Queen Victoria House

Net-Positive Cost of Energy

This extremely budget-conscious, resource and energy-efficient, phased addition and deep green retrofit to a century-old, working-class, single-family, Riverdale Pocket home takes advantage of the existing site orientation for natural lighting and shading, and enjoys calming views and breezes from the densely wooded back garden. In addition to highly-effective insulation, Queen Victoria House makes use of: self-venting, recyclable Galvalume reflective roofing; energy-efficient doors and windows; solar thermal hot water; hybrid hydronic radiant heating strategies; highly efficient ceiling fans; and optimal re-use of the existing building’s structure to create an urban oasis fit for a 21st-century family.

Reductions in overall energy-demand through conservation, coupled with a solar thermal panel and 5 kW of microFIT-connected solar electric panels on the roof, allow this home to have a net-positive cost of energy. A truly remarkable achievement.

Approvals included Committee of Adjustment and Urban Forestry.

Location:
Toronto, ON
Original Construction:
1914
Completion:
2013
Area:
163 m², 1,750 ft²
Project Lead:
Paul Dowsett
Energy Use Intensity:
Actual: 176 kWh/m²
Reduction in Energy Use from Typical:
37%
Air-Tightness:
5.5 ACH
microFIT Capacity:
5 kW
Energy Generation:
4,966 kWh/yr
Habitat for Humanity - Projects Sustainable.TO Architecture + Building

Sustainable.TO

Habitat for Humanity

Cambodian Sustainable Housing

Our short-listed entry to the Cambodian Sustainable Housing competition responds to the needs of its inhabitants and to the ethos of Cambodian living. It presents a way of understanding the world around it, relating itself to the people who dwell within and the places and materials they have found. Its details of construction, layout, and aesthetic can be read for aspirations and ideals of the individual and country. The building shapes the lives of its inhabitants while its inhabitants, in turn, shape it.

Built in response to the local microclimate, the house’s sloped roofs are designed to both shed the monsoons and to provide shade from the sun. The gap between the walls and the roof allows for passive ventilation of cooking smoke across the centre of the house, and also prevents hot air from gathering within the structure. The ping pong bamboo screens tie into the structure and provide light-weight shade and privacy, while still allowing for natural ventilation. A water cistern is built into the brick core enabling the collection of rainwater for cooking and bathing.

The design is customizable, affordable, and secure. Its modular, independent platforms allow for construction in a wide variety of site situations, reflecting the wide variety of environments that Habitat for Humanity - Cambodia addresses, from the shorelines of Lake Tonle to the compact urban settings of Phnom Penh. The phased building is inexpensive to construct in its basic form, and is easily further developed when additional funds become available. It is solid enough to feel safe, and is respectful of the public lifestyle held by many Cambodians.

Location:
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Area:
57m², 615ft²
Client:
Building Trust International & Habitat for Humanity - Cambodia
Budget:
US$2,165
Project Lead:
Nicholas Discenza
Daniels Green Roof - Projects Sustainable.TO Architecture + Building

Sustainable.TO

Daniels Green Roof

Pre-Grown Modular Vegetation Pallets

Green Roof addition to the Daniels Residence providing visual interest, roofing membrane protection, storm water retention & filtration, passive cooling, and urban pollinator habitat.

Location:
Toronto, ON
Completion:
2013
Area:
2228ft²
Project Lead:
Nicholas Discenza
Green Roof Type:
Extensive
Slope:
2%
Access:
Accessible, Private
Green Roof Design:
Vegetal i.D. Inc. & SUSTAINABLE.TO
Modular Green Roof System:
HYDROPACK by Vegetal i.D. Inc.
Contractor: Ginkgo Sustainability:
Ginkgo Sustainability
ULAX ATKA - Projects Sustainable.TO Architecture + Building

Sustainable.TO

ULAX ATKA

Living Building Challenge Alaska

Our design for Atka, one of the Aleutian Islands, recalls traditional design vernacular while utilizing modern, cost-effective, and sustainable techniques. Our goal is to provide equitable living conditions for people who face economic and social challenges, and to respect nature by minimizing resource and energy consumption as guided by the Living Building Challenge.

Our proposal not only responds to the Living Building Challenge, but has also been designed to achieve the energy-stringent Passive House Standard, to target LEED Platinum Certification, and to meet ENERGY-STAR for New Homes.

The home’s panels will be prefabricated in Seattle, to be flat-packed and shipped to Atka, to minimize the on-site construction time.

Location:
Aleutian Islands, AK
Area:
1,280ft², 119m²
Client:
Cascadia Green Building Council
Project Lead:
Nicholas Discenza
Mechanical:
Dialog
Electrical:
Dialog
Budget:
$400,000
Joplin House - Projects Sustainable.TO Architecture + Building

Sustainable.TO

Joplin House

Tornado-Resistant House for Missouri

In May of 2011, Joplin, Missouri was hit by a catastrophic EF-5 tornado. Killing 158 people and destroying nearly 7,000 homes, it was the deadliest American tornado in over 60 years, and it is thought to be the most expensive tornado in history.

Designing for a tornado-prone region is a unique challenge, but one that is nonetheless important to the many residents who find themselves facing these circumstances. Fortunately, it is not impossible.

Joplin House takes its shape from the archetypal street-front profile often seen in older parts of the city. Two large covered porches constructed of wood sit at the front and rear of the house, serving as the “outdoor rooms” familiar to the district, while also shading the front and rear from direct sunlight. Inside, the generously lit open living space occupies the southern side of the building, while the private spaces lie along the northern side.

The structure consists of a simple frame, easily constructed using conventional construction methods or, if finances allow, structural-insulated panels (SIPS), which could expedite the construction process as well as being significantly thermally efficient.

The exterior is clad in corrugated Galvalume, which is very long-lasting, reflects heat, and is resistant to damage from hail. Adjustable perforated metal shutters, mounted on tracks, address security and privacy while blocking sun in the summer to keep the interior cool. In the winter (or when desired) they are adjustable and can be lowered to allow daylight and solar heat gain. Similar perforated panels may be attached seasonally onto the clerestory at the top of the house; the southern roof contains small lengthwise ridges for safety while this installation occurs.

While much of the construction outlined above would address some aspects of tornado-aware design, it is the safe-room at the core of the house that provides the strongest response. Designed to FEMA standards, the room rests on its own foundation and is unconnected to the surrounding structure. The reinforced concrete masonry unit ((CMU) wall construction is largely projectile-resistant and contains a tornado-safe door and no windows. Nonetheless it serves a double purpose as a washroom for the home. Similarly, the concrete that keeps the occupants safe in an emergency also acts as thermal mass, storing solar heat for long winter nights. As it cannot contact the structure, a nook exists above the room, for storage or as a child’s loft play area. The safe-room need not be an oppressive element within the design; the very features that render it safe have a role to play in day-to-day life, as well.

Project Lead:
Sean Maciel
Daniels Residence - Projects Sustainable.TO Architecture + Building

Sustainable.TO

Daniels Residence

South Hill Deep Green Heritage Restoration

A carefully orchestrated synthesis of resource and energy-efficient additions, heritage restoration, and deep green retrofit to a Toronto Art Deco masterpiece. The Daniels’ Residence is a symphony of 21st-century sustainability: taking advantage of the existing site orientation to maximize vistas and capture cooling breezes from the adjacent low-lying lands, harnessing passive solar heating and cooling, and a variety of creative reuse opportunities that presented themselves in the original structure.

Further sustainable strategies include: rainwater collection for irrigation, highly-effective insulation, light-coloured roofing designed with provisions for green roof installation, energy-efficient doors and windows, geo-exchange heating and cooling, multiple optimally-sized heat pumps efficiently zoned throughout the house, solar thermal hot water, sun shading devices, thermal mass concrete floors, hydronic radiant floor heating, and best-possible indoor air quality strategies.

The Daniels’ spectacular collection of art, furniture and light fixtures fills a home that is just as breathtaking in form. As stylish as it is green and sustainable, the ingenious ‘reimagination’ of its landmark Art Deco nascence is a testament to David, Kate and team’s mission to preserve the old, while weaving in the new.

Approvals included Committee of Adjustment and Urban Forestry.

Location:
Toronto, ON
Completion:
2009
Lot Size:
1,900m²
Building Gross Floor Area:
836m², 9,000 ft²
Project Lead:
Paul Dowsett
Energy Use Intensity:
Actual: 171 kWh/m²
Reduction in Energy Use from Typical:
38%
Structural:
Halsall Associates
Heritage:
Paul Dowsett, Architect
Interiors:
Phillip Moody
Alternative Energy:
Generation Solar
Lighting:
DarkTools
Landscape:
Holbrook & Associates Ltd.
Contractor:
Coheze Developments Ltd.
Principal-in-Charge 2005-2008:
(Scott Morris Architects Inc.) Paul Dowsett, Architect
Principal-in-Charge 2009-2013:
(Paul Dowsett Architecture Inc. o/a SUSTAINABLE.TO) Paul Dowsett, Architect
Comprehensive Coastal Community - Projects Sustainable.TO Architecture + Building

Sustainable.TO

Comprehensive Coastal Community

Post Hurricane Sandy Flood-Resistant Zoning and Infrastructure Plan for Breezy Point, NY