Dedicated to sustainable,
high performance building

2016 – National Winner – OUR HOUSE – Toronto, ON

JURY COMMENTS: A simple, strategic and highly reproducible series of interventions have completely transformed this modest residence into an appealing family home. Working within the constraints of a 450ft2 footprint, this project is notable for its compelling, well-proportioned spaces conjured out of an existing structure that was virtually unliveable. With close attention paid to airtightness, insulation levels and high-performance triple-glazed windows and skylights, energy performance has been improved by 90%

The renovation of this 84m² home in Toronto’s Roncesvalles neighbourhood was completed in May 2014. The occupants, co-founding partners of a Toronto-based sustainable architecture firm, acted as both architects and general contractors, with their two young children in tow.

The property is small, with a front yard, detached garage, and proximity to schools, shops, and the owners’ architecture office. Two main considerations were to maximize energy efficiency and the apparent space within the small 42m² footprint on each floor. The occupants wanted to maintain the brick structure and traditional character of the building while retrofitting it with a high-performance envelope and energy efficient systems. The occupants also wanted ample outdoor space for the children to play.

The second floor includes a shared kids bedroom with bunk beds, a playroom/guest bedroom, a master bedroom and a bathroom with laundry facilities. The main floor living room acts as a family area, while the basement was underpinned and finished as a separate apartment unit for added income.

The large tree in the front yard was preserved and a green roof was installed over the front porch. The side terrace act as a second living area for the family in the warmer months.

With two air changes per hour at 50 Pa, the house is extremely airtight for a renovation project. The ERV and boiler are both small, compact and efficient. All windows in the project are triple-glazed fiberglass units. An operable triple-glazed thermal skylight was installed over the staircase, allowing light to penetrate both levels of the home and promoting stack-effect passive ventilation in the summer months. A solar tube was installed in the upstairs hall, significantly brightening the otherwise dark space.

Project Performance
– Energuide Rating [Original Building] = 38
– Energuide Rating [After Renovation] = 83

Project Credits
Architect Solares Architecture Inc.
General Contractor Tomislav Knezic
Interior Finishing Contractor Paul Drummond
Landscape Architect R Environs Inc.
Mechanical Engineer SGA Associates Inc.
Structural Engineer Katakkar Engineering associates
Commissioning Agent Blue Green Consulting Group
Photos Derek Monson