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.
  Boothroyd Avenue   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.
  Brooklawn Avenue   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.
  Cabbagetown Cottage   Modern Heritage Addition in Cabbagetown   This Cabbagetown home had strict heritage guidelines with which to comply. The original Worker’s Cottage was retained and restored. Passersby can only see the original building, while the thoroughly-modern, 2-storey rear addition is hidden behind. Walking through the front door is like Alice passing through the looking glass. The interior and the rear garden are another world of large, high, and very contemporary spaces contrasting with the former, modest Victorian home.  The rear yard is bisected by the lane-accessed garage, creating an urban patio landscape adjacent to the house, and a natural oasis beyond. The garage can open on three sides, allowing it to double as a covered outdoor entertainment space which fuses the two halves of the garden.  The design of this home was featured by the Cabbagetown Heritage Conservation District Advisory Committee to show that it was possible to both comply with the heritage guidelines and to have a modern home. The two ideas need not be mutually exclusive.  Approvals included Heritage, Committee of Adjustment, and Urban Forestry.
  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.
  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 : 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 : Paul Dowsett, Architect(Scott Morris Architects Inc.)  Principal-in-Charge 2009-2013 : Paul Dowsett, Architect (Paul Dowsett Architecture Inc. o/a 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.
  East York Passive Home   Bungalow Addition and Renovation   Our clients asked Sustainable 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’s strategies for this home include 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 is a light-filled, coherent home, with clean lines, and beautiful, natural materials, that reduces energy demand, while increasing the health and happiness of the homeowners.
  Elmwood Avenue   North York Passive Solar 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.
  Frog's Hollow   Reclaimed Barn to Off-grid, Passive Solar Residence   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 ?”
  Gardenvale Road  Home Renovation for Future Generations  Our clients came to us with the vision to preserve and enhance the life of their existing 1930's 1-1/2 storey house, rather than demolish and rebuild, like so many other houses in Central Etobicoke. They loved the area, and there was much to be valued with their existing home. But with a growing family and a house approaching 100 years of age, it was time to renovate and expand their home, while keeping and maintaining the parts that were worthy of saving. This minimized the amount of waste from demolition that would have been sent to the landfill, while allowing us to keep the existing quality bones of the house. The approach was to keep the general shape of the home, build out the back with a 2-storey rear addition, give it a more modern look through materials and colours, and make the house much more energy-efficient.  Sustainable features include: overcladding with Roxul Comfortboard insulation to reduce heat loss, increase comfort, and reduce street noise; resilient and durable materials like a metal roof, and cement board siding; sun tunnels on the second floor to increase natural daylighting, while decreasing energy demand; improved HVAC systems, which included removal of basement ductwork to increase headroom; and an efficient use of space, to make best use of what was existing, in combination with the proposed plans.  Even though there was a large increase in square footage, in combination with ever-increasing energy prices, the clients have found that their energy bills have gone down.  They are now happy and comfortable in their new home, with a layout that is flexible enough to adapt to future needs.  The result of our collaboration is a durable, long-lasting, and efficient house that is designed to last generations.  Click  here  to read the client review.
  Horseshoe Lake Cottage   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
  Hunter House   Straw-Bale Off-Grid Passive Solar House   A contemporary straw-bale home built entirely off-grid in rural Ontario, the Hunter House reaffirms the benefits of natural building techniques in 21st-century construction, and is a testament to SUSTAINABLE.TO’s commitment to sustainability and to the use of renewable resources. The combination of effective straw bale insulation, energy-efficient doors and windows, solar thermal hot water, deep overhangs for sun shading, highly-reflective Galvalume roofing, thermal mass concrete floors, hydronic radiant floor heating, and on-site solar & wind energy generation & storage make the Hunter House comfortable, healthy, and extremely resilient.  Since completion of the main house, SUSTAINABLE.TO has been retained to design two more complementary structures: a Work/Storage Shed using as many ‘left over’ materials as possible from the original construction, and a Sugar Shack/Vehicle Maintenance Shed nestled into the original barn stone foundations.
  Indian Valley Crescent
  Jones Avenue Laneway House   Sustainable Laneway House Renovation + Addition   Sustainable transformed an illegal, one-storey apartment (originally a converted garage) into a fully-legal, classically-proportioned, and visually stunning laneway house in Toronto’s east end Riverdale Pocket. The simple cedar deck boards that clad the feature-wall have been charred using a Japanese method known as shou-sugi-ban: a process of burning wood, dousing it, drying it, and then applying a coat of natural oil. The process renders the wood practically maintenance-free while adding resistance to fire and rot. A new concrete floor was poured with an in-floor radiant heating system. On sunny winter days, sunlight entering the home’s large windows warms the exposed polished concrete floor, keeping the space warm and comfortable while reducing the need for heating energy.  Although small and tucked away, this home makes a big contribution to the city – not the least of which was positive influence on the City’s adoption of bylaws permitting the construction of Laneway Suites. Sustainable’s Jones Avenue Laneway House demonstrates that challenging sites deserve thoughtful designs, proving that laneway houses can add to, rather than detract from, the urban fabric.
  Kingston Road   Deep Green Renovation of a Century-old Family Home in the Beach   A century-old, Craftsman-style home that has been in the family for generations was completely overhauled and modernized with a sustainable eye. New period-appropriate exterior wood siding and trim, high-efficiency windows, and modern fixtures and appliances complement the original interior woodwork and detailing that make the home such a remarkable piece of turn-of-the-century residential architecture. With renovations now complete, this home is ready to stand for yet another hundred years, and be passed down for generations to come.
  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?
  Laneway Coach House
  Method.TO Test Shed   Residential Construction Method for a 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
  Millwood Road   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.
  Monkton Avenue   Addition + Renovation   In 2004 the owners of this postwar bungalow in Etobicoke wanted a tasteful second-storey addition and renovation to create more space for their growing family. After living in the home for over a decade, they approached us once again to complete an interior renovation to update the space to better fit with how they live. Working in partnership with Sybrandt Creative, we re-thought the interior, making minor changes to the layout, and updating finishes, fixtures, and furniture. Our focus throughout this work was using materials that will last, with some behind the scenes improvements to improve comfort for many years to come.
  Norden Crescent   Don Mills Addition and Renovation   On a quiet crescent in Don Mills, many bungalows have been torn down and replaced with large modern homes. The owners at this home decided against complete removal when they identified the need for more space, instead opting for a spacious rear addition, front bay window addition, and rooftop dormers to improve upon the space they already had at home. Overlooking a rail trail park, the backyard maintains family privacy while also enjoying expansive views - views which are optimized from inside on all levels with large windows. A simple exterior material palette of wood, metal, and painted brick blends with the landscape, respects the original bungalow, and stands out as a unique renovation example on the street.
  Pottery Studio   Replacing an Old Garage with a 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.
  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!
  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.
  Sawyer Residence   Contemporary New Build in Oakville   When our clients read Jane Gadd’s article in The Globe and Mail about Sustainable’s healthy and accessible Wellington County Farmhouse, it took them over a year to reach out to us.  Having very specific needs and desires required thorough research and inward searching for them. But once they had decided on rebuilding an existing split level into a new, highly energy-efficient, light-filled, and spacious home, they knew the task required an architect like Sustainable.  Our experience with healthy and accessible building allowed us to guide them through a design process where a home was generated that would be passed down through the generations. The house had to appeal to the kids too. A grand living, dining, and kitchen space was designed for all generations of family to entertain, play, and spend quality time together.  Sustainable features include: high clerestory windows that spill light into the 2-storey central hallway; in-floor radiant heating throughout the house; a highly-insulated building shell; and a fully-accessible ground floor, that will meet the family’s needs well into the future.
  Six Points Residence  High-Performance New-Build Single Family Home  When seeking to build a home for themselves and their family in Toronto’s Six Points neighbourhood, Sustainable’s clients were committed to the idea of building “the best home, not the biggest home.” By choosing to build a house that was right-sized for them, they avoided the need to request minor variances from the Committee of Adjustment, and thereby fast-tracked the municipal approvals process.  This right-sizing saved them both time and money. By choosing to invest their savings into ambitious construction assemblies such as high levels of continuous exterior insulation and optimized air-tightness they were able to further reduce their energy demands for heating and cooling. Operable windows allow for natural cross-ventilation, and deciduous shade trees means their home won’t overheat in the summer, but will absorb the sun’s warming rays during the winter.  An air-tight and well-insulated home will require much less energy to heat and cool, which allowed them to consider going all-electric. Instead of a conventional gas-fired furnace which burns fossil fuels to create heat, they selected an electric air-source heat pump which also handles their cooling needs. Instead of a gas-fired boiler, they selected a high-efficiency electric hot water heater; instead of a gas range, an induction cooktop; instead of a conventional range hood, a recirculating one that captures particulate and filters the air; and instead of a conventional clothes dryer, a condensing clothes dryer. Furthermore, they opted to forego a fireplace altogether. In the case of fireplace, furnace, boiler, clothes dryer, and range hood, large penetrations through the building envelope to eject exhaust air (and thereby energy) directly outdoors have been eliminated, improving the home’s overall air-tightness, and thus, energy-efficiency.  Their electricity bill for their first month living in their new home was well below the national average, and included EV charging, which amounts to hundreds of dollars saved on a monthly basis.  This all-electric approach is the best way to achieve our carbon emission targets without compromising our economy, our enjoyment, or our way of life.
  Spring Garden Avenue   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.
  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.
  Woodfield Road   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 more functional living space better suited to their lifestyle.  Throughout the existing home, the floor joists were reinforced to correct the squeaky floors and improve the structure of the home. Ground floor renovations involved strategically removing interior walls to create an open-concept kitchen and dining area. A new living room addition at the back increases the functionality and openness of the main floor. The new addition, clad in Galvalume corrugated metal siding and roofing, provides durable protection for the building envelope. Juliet balconies with views to a park open the indoor space to the outdoors, connecting the home to its rear garden area.  Along the covered rear entry, charred cedar shou-sugi ban provides a sense of warmth as people enter the home from the garden. A new landscaped walk-out provides additional semi-private outdoor living space at the rear of the house and connects the backyard garden with the basement level. On the second floor, an ensuite bathroom was created out of part of an underused bedroom to support a new principal bedroom overlooking the garden and park.
 This full gut, renovation/addition project near Lake Ontario on Ninth Street in Etobicoke expands an existing two-storey brick dwelling with a two-storey rear addition. The house was stripped back to the existing brick structure to completely update the home’s performance and interior finishes to suit the needs of a young family. Retaining it’s appearance from the street, a modest wood-clad rear addition adds a new living room and principal bedroom above to improve layout and functionality. New windows, an added layer of interior insulation, and breathable natural materials make this renovation a comfortable and energy-efficient gem right by the lake.