Sustainable’s High-Performance Residence In Toronto

With the recent annual honouring of Earth Day, let's talk about saving energy! For we Canadians, the costs to operate our homes can be quite hefty, especially given the extreme temperatures in Canada which vary dramatically with the seasons. One Toronto architecture firm - Sustainable. - took on the challenge to reduce expenses by designing a high-performance, multi-generational home called Risebrough Residence. Located in North York, Risebrough Residence's total energy demand is a whopping 75% lower than your typical, traditional housing.

How amazing is that?



Using readily-available construction materials in an innovative way, the architecture minimizes the overall energy consumption of the home. For instance, the staggered pitch of the rooflines allows for natural daylight to pass through clerestory windows while integrating the principles of convection draws fresh air from the garden level upwards throughout the rest of the dwelling.



The house is wrapped in a thick layer of mineral wool insulation with an air-tight building envelope that minimizes unwanted air-leakage. Derived from the Toronto Method of wall-assembly, the rule is to place 6-inches of mineral wool insulation outside the structure walls (and 3 inches within) so that it eliminates any thermal heat loss.



Two fully-ducted energy recovery ventilators (ERVs) manage controlled-ventilation, ensuring that fresh incoming air is efficiently heated by outgoing exhaust air. In a Blower-Door test, Sustainable. was able to detect air leakage and improve air-tightness to achieve a 35% reduction in energy use from ait-tightness improvements alone.


Seen here: Floor heating at its best!


During construction, it was effectively demonstrated that this home could be heated with the equivalent of only TWO hair dryers! As seen in the image above, the house utilizes hydronic in-floor radiant heating powered by a high-efficiency natural gas boiler. Furthermore, the majority of mechanical heat loads were reduced by implementing passive design methods.





Did you know that Canada, on average, is experiencing global-warming twice the global rate than the rest of the world? With the increasing occurrence of extreme weather impacting climate change, it's essential we embrace, and integrate, available design and technological solutions which reduce costs and respect the environment.  

We hope this post inspires you to conserve energy in your own home. 

In an Earth lovin’, tree-huggin’ state of mind? Check out some of these other posts on sustainable Canadian architecture:

K-House By Office Ou In Dundas, Ontario

The Straw Bale House In Cavan, Ontario By Scott Shields Architects

The Castleton Residence: Ontario’s First Ever Rammed Earth Home


All photos courtesy of Sustainable.


This article was researched and written by Agnes Yuen, an Architectural Science student at Ryerson University.

Posted In: Ontario

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