SUSTAINABLE.TO and GreenBilt Homes held a tour of their latest healthy, sustainable, and resilient home. Paul Dowsett, Principal Architect of SUSTAINABLE.TO, and Mike Manning, President of Greenbilt Homes, presented their innovative approach to exterior insulation and continuous air-barriers.
ABOUT THE PROJECT
To reduce reliance on energy, the Risebrough Residence is wrapped in a thick blanket of thermal insulation on the outside of the wood frame structure, which reduces heat loss and allows the home to stay comfortable with minimal energy input for heating or cooling. By providing an airtight building envelope, uncontrolled air leakage is minimized, reducing energy consumption and improving the durability and longevity of the building.
Conceptually, SUSTAINABLE.TO took inspiration from the Mid-Century Modern movement. The massing of the home as perceived from the street makes a subtle nod to mid-century design: low-pitched sloped roofs, clerestory windows, and a rich, natural material pallet allow the home to be lit naturally, breathe passively, and regulate temperature more efficiently.
These Mid-Century-inspired passive design features allow the architecture to do the heavy lifting. The staggered rooflines accommodate high clerestory windows that admit daylight naturally, reducing the need to switch on lights. During the shoulder seasons of spring and fall, convection currents passively vent warm stale indoor air through the upper windows, in turn naturally drawing in cooler, fresh air from the garden level. The remaining heating requirements are topped up with a hydronic in-floor radiant heating system fed with a super-efficient natural gas boiler. Since the home is designed to be airtight, air coming into the home is controlled by a fully ducted ventilation system. The system includes two energy recovery ventilators (ERV’s) that recover heat and humidity from the exhausted air to preheat and humidify incoming fresh air