Welcome to the Sustainability 101 educational blog series! During this blog series we will be discussing topics related to sustainable design in buildings, what they are and how they comprise part of our design philosophy.
Shou-Sugi Ban is a Japanese cladding technique that preserves wood (making it resistant to fire, vermin, and decay) by first charring it, then cooling it, cleaning it, and finishing it with natural oil. We have used this technique on our very own METHOD.TO test shed, charring the wood ourselves; but for other projects in Toronto we have left the fun to the professionals.
Everyone knows that law students write the bar exam to becomes lawyers. Medical students take on months of residency to become doctors. But how does an architect become licensed? Few people are familiar with the ExAC (Examination for Architects in Canada), which is a grueling, 2-day, 4-part exam held once a year in November.
An ERV is an Energy Recovery Ventilator. Its little brother is an HRV, or Heat Recovery Ventilator. Either is needed when building a new, energy-efficient, airtight home (or renovating your current home) to ensure that you have fresh indoor air without unnecessarily losing heat through your building envelope (your walls, roofs, floors; and around windows and doors).
The owners of what would become Willowdale Passive Solar House had a poorly built, leaky, drippy, mouldy home that needed to be torn down. We normally try to salvage stuff and avoid landfill, but there was truly nothing of value here.
I mean no disrespect to the architects, I’m just using River City 3 in Toronto as a very visible example of a very common problem.
It has now been over a year since the Fort McMurray fire that caused the largest wildfire evacuation in Alberta history. In the wake of such a massive tragedy, we should be searching for the ultimate in resilient re-building.
Our client approached SUSTAINABLE.TO to undertake the design of a new, appropriately-sized dwelling on their family-owned lakeside property
Taking my new pup Creemore to the dog park, I meet Glen Hunter, with his golden retriever Ceira. We strike up a conversation and he cheerfully tells me that he is having an off-grid house designed for his hundred acres of property near Peterborough. I listen with interest, being an architect with a sustainable bent. But I don’t tell him what I do for a living, not wanting to appear to be horning in on someone else’s work.
Have you ever walked into a room or walked past a building and just something about it felt right or looked right? That’s probably because it is proportioned well; following rules set out by ancient Greek and Roman architects and based on the human body.
SUSTAINABLE.TO Architecture + Building helps many people in Toronto to build, or renovate, their homes. We have noticed recently that housing prices in Toronto continue to grow month-over-month and year-over-year. A significant influence on this price increase is that we are simply not making many new single-family home lots in Toronto.
Back in November 2009, we were nothing more than a few people around a table in Paul Dowsett’s dining room. We had no formal office space, but we did have a dream. A dream of making sustainability mainstream. 7 years later, as the NOW Magazine People’s Choice winner for Best Design Firm, we have achieved that goal, and validated our efforts as leaders of sustainability.
Be it hurricane, ice storm, flood, or wildfire, there are few greater threats to a community than natural disaster. The design and planning of our cities and economies must be able to respond to disaster, bounce back, resume operation, and be a catalyst for redevelopment — all in addition to being safe havens for their residents.
SUSTAINABLE.TO Architecture + Building is literally pushing the building envelope. Proposing a forward-thinking, environmentally responsible, and energy-efficient wall assembly that improves the durability of your home to ensure improved occupant health and comfort.
When we saw the pride on the face of Antenehe when he walked into the East Scarborough Storefront and saw the “KGO” tile pattern in the floor, we knew that there was traction to the Community. Design. Initiative.(CDI) This flooring pattern was an idea he had come up with at one of the many community design charrettes that have taken place at the East Scarborough Storefront over the last 7 years.
SUSTAINABLE.TO Architecture + Building is proud to be leading the design for this game-changing facility — the 1st in Canada, and only the 9th in the world!
Smart thermostats do not change the amount of energy your home needs to stay warm/cool. They restrict the amount of time your furnace is on. This conserves energy, but usually results in user discomfort – like if your thermostat thinks you are at work, but you stay home sick, or it’s a holiday Monday.
Since opening up shop in Toronto’s east end in 2009, SUSTAINABLE.TO Architecture + Building (STO) has jumped leaps and bounds towards establishing the new normal for how we think about building in a post-carbon world. In 2002, leading American architect Ed Mazria founded Architecture 2030, an organization committed to protecting our global environment by using innovation and common sense to develop and implement bold solutions to global warming. Mazria developed energy-reduction targets for buildings leading up to 2030 as a Challenge.
STO was pleased to visit Donny’s Fantasy Farm for our 2016 corporate retreat. The house, dating from the mid-1800’s, was perfectly suited to our needs; the land was great for a hike; and Donald was a wonderful host.
We see communities changing around us every day, and the importance of architects in this process is increasing at a steady pace just the same. Perhaps not in the way our parents may have imagined, but in a much broader context. Sustainable.TO, along with many partners, has been working to help define this role and how it can impact communities with more than just the physical spaces we create
From November 16, 2015 to January 10th, 2016, the residential work of SUSTAINABLE.TO (S.TO) will be a feature of the At-Home Exhibit in Cambridge, Ontario put on by Art + Design Idea Exchange. The displayed works focus on homes capable of withstanding natural disasters, energy-efficient homes, off-grid homes, and new concepts for shared living and working spaces. As frontrunners in sustainable and resilient design, S.TO’s projects are front and centre at the exhibit, taking place at the University of Waterloo Architecture Building.
Imagine for a second a wonderful moment.
You’re on a drive through the countryside. The sun is cresting, the view is breathtaking, and your Tesla Model S is taking every corner better than the last. It could be the wind in your hair or the traction of your tires as you carve through the natural landscape, but whatever it is, it feels great and you’re in control.