Method.TO Test Shed
Residential Construction Method for a Toronto Climate
Sustainable is literally pushing the envelope.
Toronto’s climate challenges how we construct our homes and buildings. We have very cold, dry winters and hot, humid summers, which places great stress on our building envelopes. Imagine a typical winter day when it is 21°C inside, and -10°C outside. That’s over a 30°C difference that your wall has to maintain by keeping the heat in!
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 follows these simple principles:
1. More insulation! And more effective insulation. I.e. Insulation is on the EXTERIOR of the structure, improving its effectiveness and increasing the lifespan of the structure by keeping it warm.
2. There is only ONE CONTINUOUS MEMBRANE wrapping the structure, that will improve air-tightness and better manage liquid water and vapour.
3. Use a durable, lightweight cladding to protect the wall from extreme weather. Vent behind the cladding to increase drying potential of the wall.
In order to realize our vision, the team at Sustainable has built a test structure using METHOD.TO and these simple principles. We are currently testing it to verify its effectiveness, improve constructability, and fine-tune it to use on future projects.
Location: Toronto, ON
Area: 35 sq.ft.
Project Leads: Craig Race, Kelsey Saunders
Insulation Provider: Roxul
Weather/air Membrane Provider: Henry/Blueskin
Contractors: Modus Homes, Greenbilt Homes
Window Provider: Ridley Windows and Doors
Building Products Provider: Herrmann's Timber-frame Homes