Better Built Home Tour of 88 Risebrough, Toronto

This video recaps the Open House of the Risebrough Residence in North York, Ontario, Canada on February 25th, 2017. This tour was titled the Better Built Home tour and was put on by the architects SUSTAINABLE.TO and the builder Greenbilt Homes.

The forward-thinking Risebrough Residence employs readily-available construction materials in innovative ways to achieve a future-proof dwelling for a young Toronto family. As extreme weather events occur more and more frequently, our clients wanted a home that would sip energy, endure for generations, and remain comfortable at all times.

To achieve these goals, the architecture does the heavy lifting. The staggered rooflines accommodate high windows that admit daylight naturally; while convection currents passively vent warm, stale indoor air through the upper windows and draw in cooler, fresh air from the garden level during the shoulder seasons. To reduce energy demand, the home is wrapped in a thick blanket of insulation; while an air-tight building envelope reduces unwanted air-leakage. Two fully ducted energy recovery ventilators (ERV’s) handle controlled ventilation: ensuring the fresh incoming air is efficiently preheated and humidified by the outgoing exhaust air. As heating and cooling loads have passively been reduced by 80% over a typical home, the remaining heating requirements are handled by a hydronic in-floor radiant heating system powered by a super-efficient natural gas boiler.

To ensure these goals were met, SUSTAINABLE.TO performs periodic site reviews to ensure construction is proceeding as intended. A Blower-Door test was performed to review the building envelope for air leakage to ensure a continuous air barrier. From a pre-inspection reading of 4.30 ACH50 (Air Change per Hour at 50 Pascals), SUSTAINABLE.TO was able to pinpoint air leakage, and improve air-tightness to a final reading of 1.7 ACH50—which translates to a 35% reduction in energy use from air-tightness alone.

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