TORONTO Canada Green Building Council
ISSUE 16, FALL 2018, Greater Toronto Chapter, CaGBC Regional Publication /
The Housing Issue
West 5: Net-Zero Energy over 70 Acres Building Better Housing through Intensification Sustainability at the Plant: Beyond Bricks and Mortar
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WELCOME TO TORONTO FOCUS
We are pleased to share with you this fifteenth Toronto FOCUS supplement produced in partnership with SABMag.
You cannot work around buildings in Ontario and avoid the subject of housing or the passion that surrounds it. Intertwined issues of housing design and performance, affordability, supply barriers, demand pressures, form, scale and location are at the forefront of social and political conversations. We believe this is an opportunity to rethink how we meet housing needs in the region and for a convergence of ideas that accelerate the delivery of affordable, low carbon housing in walkable, vibrant communities. In this issue we are excited to present a number of examples of local leadership working towards a better housing future. It includes projects breaking new ground on building performance, policies that break through rigid planning constraints to permit new opportunities for diversified supply, and examples of design excellence. We are excited to share it with you.
Jeff Ranson GTA Regional Director Canada Green Building Council
Message from the Greater Toronto Chapter of the CaGBC The first half of 2018 has been a busy year for the Greater Toronto Chapter of the Canada Green Building Council. I was honored to be elected to the role of Chair of the Greater Toronto Chapter. We are pleased to welcome some new board members to the chapter: Philippe Bernier, Jenn McArthur, Howlan Mullally, Terry Olynyk and Irena Stankovic join our returning board members Rob Edwards, Jason Gray, Holly Jordan, Marco Iacampo, Julia St. Michael and myself. I would like to thank Subhi Alsayed, Darryl Neate, Michael Parker and Andy Schonberger for their tireless service on the board. This year has been very busy with a targeted 35 events taking place in the GTA. Weâ€™re holding events as far away as Hamilton and Waterloo. In September we hosted our Q3 Green Building breakfast featuring Hon. Rod Phillips, Minister of Environment, Conservation and Parks. It was great to provide our members with information directly from the Minister. We look forward to seeing everyone at the Awards Night on November 1st and would like to wish you and your family a Healthy and Happy New Year.
Jim Lord Founding Principal, Ecovert Sustainability Consultants Chair, CaGBC - Greater Toronto Chapter
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Dig deeper into sustainability and earn incentives for your building project.
Thorold Non-Profit Housing Senior’s Building 24 CLEVELAND ST., THOROLD, ON
Savings achieved: 35.7% more efficient than Code. Key Energy Conservation Measures: • • • • • •
Improved wall and roof insulation Upgraded HVAC system Occupancy sensors in common areas Low-emissivity glazing ENERGY STAR® appliances Programmable thermostats
Affordable Housing New Construction Program
Mountainview Elements Condo 212 LAKEPORT RD., ST. CATHARINES, ON Savings achieved: 25% more efficient than Code. Key Energy Conservation Measures: • • • • • •
Improved wall and roof insulation Heat Recovery Ventilators LED lighting ENERGY STAR® appliances Drain water heat recovery Low-flow showerheads and tap aerators
Savings By Design Program
Raimondo + Associates Architects Inc. (RAAI) is proud to have been involved with Enbridge for their recently completed 14-unit project in Thorold, Ontario for the Thorold Non-Profit Housing Corporation, which utilized Enbridge’s Affordable Housing New Construction Program (AHNC). The client was able to take advantage of AHNC to lower the carbon footprint of the building and received funds to offset the capital expenditure and lower operational costs. The selected energy conservation strategies, coupled with Enbridge's AHNC incentives, helped to reduce incremental costs associated with the energy conservation strategy investments in this building and maintain the housing affordability over the long-term. By participating in AHNC, Thorold Non-Profit saves over $6,840 per year on annual energy costs. With the Enbridge incentive, this allows for a payback of 5.4 years. Enbridge's AHNC program allows participants to enjoy costs they can manage and reap long-term benefits.
Elements Urban Condominiums, designed by Raimondo + Associates Architects Inc. (RAAI), is a development by Mountainview Homes and Astra Capital that utilizes the Savings by Design (SBD) program by Enbridge. Participating in the program was enlightening and helpful for all members of the design team, providing benefits that go beyond financial incentives. Mike Memme, Mountainview Homes: “The design charrette brought experts in the room that we would have never contacted otherwise. We were made aware of industry best practices and challenges and how builders were dealing with them. We were given a glimpse of future code changes and how to prepare for them. Having so many great construction minds in the room at the same time was exciting. The topics we discussed will change how we design every midrise building we’re involved with going forward.” Art Rebec, ARC Engineering: “The charrette design process is an excellent way to quantify both the energy and operating cost differences between various HVAC options, system alternates, and architectural building envelope variations.”
To learn more, AffordableHousingNewConstruction.ca.
To learn more, visit SavingsByDesign.ca.
See a digital version of Greater Toronto Chapter FOCUS at 10
In this Issue FALL 2018
7 8 10
Professional Development & Events Next Steps for LEED: O+M the first to receive an upgrade Enbridgeâ€™s Affordable Housing New Construction Program Helps Providers
14 16 21
Navigating to a Sustainable Future with LEED for Homes Intractable Problems Need New Sustainable Solutions Building Better Housing through Intensification
West 5: Net-Zero Energy over 70 Acres
Exploring Air-Source Heat Pumps as an Energy Efficiency Solution
Sustainability at the Plant: Beyond Bricks and Mortar
Environmental savings for this issue: Toronto FOCUS is printed on Rolland Enviro 100 Satin, a 100% post-consumer fiber that is certified FSC and EcoLogo. It is processed chlorine-free,
45,044 L water
682 kg waste
1,774 kg of CO2
FSC-recycled and is manufactured using biogas energy.
Cover: The West 5 Net-Zero project. Photo: s2e.
Editor: Paul Erlichman, Greater Toronto Chapter of the Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC-GTC) A joint publishing project of the CaGBC-GTC and SABMag. Address all inquiries to Don Griffith: email@example.com Published by Janam Publications Inc. | www.sabmagazine.com | www.janam.net
Upcoming Events + Workshops THE CANADA GREEN BUILDING COUNCIL – GREATER TORONTO CHAPTER (CaGBC-GTC) seeks to connect all of the GTA’s green building leaders and supporters by providing all of the latest information you need to accelerate your LEED credentials and to stay at the forefront of the green building industry. Here’s a highlight of Chapter initiatives and upcoming events and workshops. Register for these events at: www.cagbctoronto.org.
ZERO CARBON BUILDING STANDARD WORKSHOP
October 26, 2018 – Ivey Tangerine Leadership Centre, Toronto This half-day workshop will introduce you to zero carbon buildings, with particular emphasis on the CaGBC’s Zero Carbon Building (ZCB) Standard. Participants will be equipped with important foundational knowledge, as well as an understanding of how the ZCB Standard could potentially be used for their current or future projects. The workshop covers the requirements of the Zero Carbon Building Standard for both new and existing buildings. INNOVATION SERIES: ZERO CARBON INNOVATION FORUM
October 26, 2018 – Ivey Tangerine Leadership Centre, Toronto The Zero Carbon Innovation Series is a set of regional events, sponsored by Mitsubishi Electric, advancing awareness and capacity for Zero Carbon Buildings in Canada.
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This session features an expert panel discussion that will explore the status of electric heating technology today and on the horizon, implications of electric heating on the design process, an evaluation of the business case for electrically heated buildings, and more. CAGBC ONTARIO AWARDS NIGHT
November 1, 2018 – Arcadian Court, Toronto The CaGBC Ontario Awards Night gala brings together more than 250 industry leaders and supporters in Toronto. The Green Building Excellence Awards recognize outstanding new projects and programs in Ontario which go above and beyond the normal scope of sustainable best practices. The Leadership Awards distinguish individuals that are advancing the green building industry in Ontario through innovation at the corporate, academic, and government levels. All awards are now Ontario-wide! Featuring MC & keynote Eric Corey Freed, Sustainability Disrupter at Morrison Hershfield, and internationallyrenowned thought-leader on sustainability and innovative urban design.
VERTICAL NEIGHBOURHOODS SUMMIT
November 19, 2018 – Sidewalk Labs, Toronto Southern Ontario is seeing an unprecedented boom in high-rise residential master planned developments. The Vertical Neighbourhoods Summit is an intensive, full-day conference discussing topics specific to creating exceptional, high-performance, sustainable high-rise neighbourhoods. Featuring keynote Douglas Farr of Farr Associates, who in 2017 was named one of “the 100 most influential urbanists of all time” by Planetizen readers. GREEN ASSOCIATE EXAM KICKSTARTER
December 6, 2018 – Evergreen Brick Works - Toronto Prepare to take your LEED® Green Associate exam and earn the internationally recognized LEED v4 Green Associate credential. CaGBC has developed this condensed 1-day course which will be delivered by highly-qualified Canadian instructors with real-life local and regional experience. This course is intended to provide you with foundational information, which will then be followed up with a post-course study plan.
LOOKING FOR THE BEST WAY TO GAIN CE HOURS AND GREEN BUILDING KNOW-HOW? CHOOSE CAGBC â€“ GREATER TORONTO CHAPTER All of our workshops are stringently peer-reviewed by GBCI for high relevance, quality and rigor, and have been deemed as guaranteed for CE hours by GBCI. We also offer a number of different webinars to share local green building knowledge and best practices.
TO LEARN MORE ABOUT ANY OF THESE INITIATIVES AND TO REGISTER FOR WORKSHOPS + EVENTS, VISIT OUR WEBSITE
Zero Carbon Building Standard Workshop
Innovation Series: Zero Carbon Innovation Forum
CaGBC Ontario Awards Night
Vertical Neighbourhoods Summit
Green Associate Exam Kickstarter
+ EVENTS Education Event CaGBC National Event Networking Event
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Canada’s green building industry is evolving, and LEED certification is once again proving that it can too By Mark Hutchinson, Vice President of Green Building Programs, Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC) Heightened focus on energy and carbon emissions reductions has changed expectations and priorities for Canada’s green building industry. The CaGBC has kept pace by introducing our Zero Carbon Building Standard in 2017 and bringing new certification programs and tools to Canada through our GBCI Canada launch earlier this year. LEED also continues to evolve to meet rising expectations.
As Canada’s oldest and most successful green building rating system, LEED has 13 years of proven success and has produced more than 3,800 certified projects across the country. The cumulative impact of these projects is remarkable: a reduction in GHG emissions of 2.49 million carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) tonnes, which is like taking 530,000 cars off the roads for a year; energy savings of 12.9 million eMWh, which is enough to power 435,000 homes in Canada for a full year; and water savings of more than 24 billion litres – equivalent to three hours of water coursing over the Canadian Horseshoe of Niagara Falls. Canadian project teams continue to successfully leverage LEED to drive market transformation with the latest version of LEED, with 600 registrations under LEED v4. Next steps for LEED LEED’s holistic view is largely responsible for its success, with an emphasis on providing healthier indoor environments for occupants while reducing emissions, maximizing energy efficiency, reducing waste and powering innovation. However, within this framework, continuous improvement is necessary. That is why we have begun rolling out LEED v4.1, with the promise of making the world’s most popular green building rating system a more powerful tool than ever for project teams. Project teams will be able to take advantage of the updated rating systems as soon as they are released, and balloting is expected to occur in 2019. Focused on streamlining, clarifying and strengthening requirements, LEED v4.1 will offer key refinements to serve the ultimate goal of enhancing the experience of projects pursuing LEED certification. It will incorporate valuable insights from Canadian project teams and the experience gleaned from working on thousands of LEED certified projects. Upgrades to the rating system are being released as drafts (“beta” updates) over the course of 2018, with the March 2018 rollout of LEED v4.1 O+M being the first of these.
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The CaGBC is working with stakeholders, its Energy and Engineering Technical Advisory Group and the LEED Canada Steering Committee to identify the best approach for tackling greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from building operations in the Canadian context. UBC Campus Energy Centre. DIALOG. Photo: Ema Peter.
LEED v4.1 Operations + Maintenance: Streamlining certification by focusing on outcomes In order to reduce environmental impacts and improve the health and wellness of occupants, we must always consider the critical role of existing buildings. The operations of our buildings must be substantially decarbonized by 2050 in order to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, and over 50 per cent of the building stock in 2050 will consist of buildings that already exist today. LEED v4.1 O+M addresses this issue by putting the focus on assessing emissions from building operations as well as transportation. A project’s energy performance score is determined in part by its GHG emissions per capita and unit area, while its transportation score is determined by per-capita emissions. LEED v4.1 O+M’s updates were introduced to better enable teams to optimize operations and achieve significant reductions in emissions from existing structures, while building upon v4’s emphasis on improved energy performance, human health and integrative design. By focusing on performance outcomes such as reduced energy and water use, and not on prescriptive measures to improve performance, this update dramatically streamlines and greatly simplifies certification. Fully 90 per cent of the points available in LEED v4.1 O+M are based on simple key performance outcomes such as energy and water use, providing broad flexibility in choosing how to achieve performance objectives. The certification process has also been improved in LEED v4.1 O+M. By introducing annual recertification, LEED can now be integrated more seamlessly into annual performance objectives and budgets. This also reduces the likelihood of gaps in data tracking due to changes in personnel, equipment or processes.
LEED v4.1 O+M drives decarbonization by assessing emissions from building operations as well as transportation. Steelcase Showroom, SUPERKÜL. Photo: Ben Rahn/A-Frame.
Leveraging the Arc benchmarking platform across entire portfolios A key aspect of the streamlined LEED v4.1 O+M rating system is its leveraging of the Arc platform, which is an online tool that helps collect, manage and benchmark building data and improve sustainability performance. On the Arc platform, data is assessed in five categories: energy, water, waste, transportation and human experience. The performance metrics correspond to those that represent 90 per cent of the points available in LEED v4.1 O+M, which allows Arc to serve as an on-ramp to LEED certification. Operations can be monitored and improved over time, and certification can easily be pursued when performance warrants. It also enables building owners to use one platform to track performance across their portfolio of LEED and other buildings, globally. This allows for performance to be compared based on a consistent set of key metrics, while highlighting opportunities to improve performance, and possibly also identifying additional buildings for LEED certification. Use of the Arc platform is provided free to LEED projects for a period of five years, making it easier for LEED Building Design + Construction (BD+C) projects to monitor performance against design expectations, comply with LEED requirements to provide energy and water use data, and determine the feasibility of O+M recertification. Tackling emissions It is anticipated that LEED 4.1 for Building Design and Construction (BD+C) will include updates to challenging Materials credit options, daylighting and acoustics. There will also be greater alignment and integration of the various rating systems for homes and multi-family buildings. Perhaps most interesting will be the updates to how energy performance is assessed. Standards and practices have evolved since LEED v4
LEED v4.1 will incorporate the experience gleaned from working on thousands of LEED certified projects. Upgrades to the rating system are being released as drafts (“beta” updates) over the course of 2018, with the March 2018 rollout of LEED v4.1 O+M being the first of these. LEED Platinum Vancouver Convention Centre West.
was first balloted, and version 4.1 is an opportunity to ensure LEED continues to drive change to address the most pressing environmental issue of our time: climate change. The CaGBC is working with stakeholders, its Energy and Engineering Technical Advisory Group and the LEED Canada Steering Committee to identify the best approach for tackling greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from building operations in the Canadian context. In recognition of the climate change imperative, a metric that assesses efforts to reduce GHG emissions is being considered. This metric would encourage careful evaluation of energy efficiency measures, the selection of energy sources (particularly for heating and hot water), and onsite renewable energy generation options. Equal weighting could be provided to overall building energy efficiency in recognition of its particularly complicated and critical role. Consideration is being given to a new, clear measure of energy performance based on assessing energy savings relative to a baseline with a fixed energy source for heating; historically, cost savings has been used rather than energy savings, and the energy source has changed as a function of the energy source chosen in the proposed design. A better LEED for a better tomorrow It’s clear we cannot forge a greener future without ensuring the sustainability of both our new and existing building stock. The latest update to the LEED O+M rating system, and the upcoming changes to other LEED rating systems, will simplify and streamline this endeavour and provide helpful tools and technology to aid the process, making it easier for the industry to demonstrate leadership and be recognized for these achievements. To participate in the LEED v4.1 O+M beta or to learn more, visit cagbc.org/leedv4-1
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Enbridge’s Affordable Housing New Construction Program Helps Providers
With the costs of energy rising, energy efficiency is a critical tool for affordable housing providers to optimize consumption and reduce operating costs. Since 2016, Enbridge Gas has offered the Affordable Housing New Construction Program (AHNC) to support energy efficiency in affordable housing. The program educates builders and developers on the opportunity to design more energy efficient affordable homes, and provides financial incentives for building energy efficient units.
RENDERING OF THE THOROLD NON-PROFIT HOUSING CORPORATION’S 14-UNIT SENIOR’S RESIDENCE. CREDIT: RAIMONDO + ASSOCIATES.
To learn more about the Affordable Housing New Construction Program, visit AffordableHousingNewConstruction.ca, or contact Cam Black at 416-758-4748 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Both multi-residential buildings and single family housing developments are eligible to participate, says Cam Black, an Energy Solutions Consultant with Enbridge. “A project might consist of 20 townhomes, a mid-rise apartment block, or a high-rise residential tower.”
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The AHNC program is designed to help housing providers who are looking for ways to cost-effectively increase the energy performance of buildings, at an up-front cost they can manage. “The program provides participating housing providers with assistance from sustainable building experts and energy modellers in a design charrette focused specifically on their housing development. The design charrette allows participants to see how various design choices will save them energy and money.”
PHOTO OF THE COMPLETED THOROLD SENIOR’S RESIDENCE. CREDIT: RAIMONDO + ASSOCIATES.
According to Black, the design charrettes are comprehensive and project-specific at the same time. They can include details on building envelope, mechanical systems, indoor air quality, storm water, accessibility, green roofs or renewable energy options, based on what the housing provider identified in its pre-charrette meeting as being relevant. More efficient buildings benefit housing providers through lower energy operating costs, which helps to maintain housing affordability over the long term. Residents of more efficient buildings also enjoy increased in-home comfort, and potential improvements in noise reduction and indoor air quality. “Of course, there is also the reduced environmental footprint,” says Black, “which ultimately benefits everyone.” Enbridge covers the cost of the design charrette and also leverages its industry connections to bring specialists and energy experts to the table. In addition, Enbridge provides financial incentives for building projects that achieve enhanced levels of energy performance. Single family homes, for example, must meet the Energy Star® for New Homes standard, and multi-residential buildings must be at least seven per cent more energy efficient than required by the Ontario Building Code. The first AHNC participant to complete construction on its affordable housing project was Thorold Non-Profit Housing Corporation, in July 2017. Black says Thorold’s 14-unit senior’s residence uses 35 per cent less energy than it would if it were just designed to meet Ontario Building Code requirements.
“This translates into more than $6,800 in annual energy cost savings, and means that Thorold’s investment in enhancing the building’s energy performance will be paid off through savings in just over five years of operation.” Some of the energy-saving features of the new senior’s residence include improved wall insulation, high-efficiency heating and cooling equipment, programmable thermostats, and occupancy sensors – all of which are design options recommended in the design charrette. “By participating in Enbridge’s Affordable Housing New Construction program and enhancing the energy efficiency of their new senior’s residence, Thorold Non-Profit Housing has made a strategic commitment to reducing energy operating costs and maintaining housing affordability over the long-term.” Black says feedback on the program indicates that the information participants get during the charrettes is really useful to them. “Particularly the energy modelling,” says Black, “because it spells out the benefits and the payoff of the design choices. Participants also appreciate the incentives because affordable housing projects are usually budget-constrained so the incentives, combined with the modelling, really help them to make the case and get buy-in for improving the building’s efficiency.” Mohini Datta-Ray, Executive Director of the North York Women’s Shelter, would agree. She and her team participated in the AHNC program in 2017. “It was such a wonderful and educational day that brought forward critical information for us to consider in the design to actualize our vision for a healing, therapeutic and sustainable space. Thanks for all your hard work – I’m beyond impressed at the calibre of work and that this program is even available!”
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Collaborative Policy-Making as a Way to Build Better Housing Options For All
Toronto is a city undergoing tremendous change. Our city core and avenues have become a series of 24/7 live-work-play neighbourhoods. Almost daily, we read about new restaurants and bars opening. New office, retail and residential buildings being built. Growing numbers of new companies moving downtown. It is an exciting time to be in The Six. By Michelle German and Craig Race
AN EXAMPLE OF LANEWAY SUITE DESIGN IN AN ESTABLISHED NEIGHBOURHOOD. CREDIT IMAGE TO LANESCAPE.
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But for all the incredible growth and change that is happening in denser areas, our city’s low-rise neighbourhoods remain much the same as they were decades ago. Occasional renovations and infill projects pepper our communities, but population in our low-rise neighbourhoods is shrinking while the population in our high-rise neighbourhoods is rising. The population in the Greater Golden Horseshoe is expected to grow by 100,000 people per year for the next 30 years, with 80% of people likely to settle in the Greater Toronto Area. While there are benefits to housing Toronto’s rapidly growing population in high-rise downtown communities, the skewed productivity of our land use is becoming problematic as it is not providing the right mix of housing options that Torontonians are looking for. The diminished availability of low-rise housing has created extreme price increases and limited low and middle-income families’ ability to locate near familyoriented amenities like parks and schools. New forms of housing are required to ensure that our growing population has great places to live, close to where they work and play. Together with the City of Toronto and local residents – Evergreen, a national non-for-profit and Lanescape, a private development, planning and design firm, set out to change that. We need more ways to build a larger variety of housing beyond single family homes and apartment towers that have an overwhelming percentage of single bedroom units. Laneway suites are one innovative housing type that has become a popular housing solution in several Canadian cities, including Vancouver, Ottawa, Regina, and others. And it’s not a new idea for the City of Toronto either, as for at least decades there has been laneway housing-focused research and advocacy led by Toronto residents, architects and city planners. In 2015, Lanescape was formed with the goal of changing Toronto’s zoning bylaws to bring this new form of housing to Toronto’s +250 linear kilometers of laneways. But applying other municipalities’ standards and guidelines would not work, because Toronto’s lot and laneway pattern is very unique, so Lanescape partnered with Evergreen and the City of Toronto to undertake an intense and thorough public co-creation process. The driving principle of our work to advance laneway housing was to present Torontonians with a problem, not a solution. Too often, planners and developers deliver a resolved vision and ask for feedback, invariably garnering opposition, criticism, and push-back. Cracking into low-rise neighbourhoods would require a more generative and inclusive approach to urban design.
Together we worked with local residents to co-create a vision for what laneway housing in Toronto should look like and understand what the concerns, challenges and opportunities were from all perspectives. Lanescape and Evergreen launched an online survey and a series of public charrettes that educated participants on the history of laneway housing, the approach taken by other cities, and the challenges and opportunities of Toronto’s lot pattern. Then they were asked to provide technical feedback on things like the size, shape, configuration of laneway houses, and other variables that would form the basis of a new zoning bylaw. This process captured the imagination of Torontonians - with more than 2,600 respondents to an online survey, and over 600 people attending public charrettes and meetings. The resulting feedback and input was collected and refined to create a bylaw that now permits the creation of laneway suites in Toronto. The new laneway suites policy was collectively authored by thousands of people who will be living in and beside laneway houses - a rare quality for most public policy documents. Toronto City Council adopted this new policy in July 2018, allowing homeowners to create a size and shape of building that is based entirely on the parameters of surrounding space. In the case of a large rear yard with lots of space, a larger unit is acceptable, since it will have little impact on surrounding structures. For smaller rear yards, however, where houses are close by and there is minimal open space, a suitably small footprint and building height will be permitted. These requirements ensure that a laneway suite is sensitive to its neighbours and can be approved through a streamlined process at the city. This is key to uptake of the policy. Since most clients/owners of laneway suites will be families with no experience in construction or development, creating an equitable, inexpensive, and efficient approvals process empowers homeowners to become contributors to the housing stock. Laneway suites are not a silver bullet to our housing needs. With the new policy in place we anticipate that only a few thousand small units are likely to be created, with initial estimates of 100 units per year, that will likely come online at market rent. In order to meet the housing demand in our city we will need to implement new housing typologies that create even more units, and fast. In order to get the best results, it is necessary that the public and private sectors are able to work together, have productive dialogues and co-design the solutions that will work for everyone. Evergreen, Lanescape and many others continue to work with the City of Toronto and other housing leaders to research and champion new ideas. However, these new ideas will only be successful with enthusiastic support from communities across the city. Michelle German is Senior Manager of Policy and Partnerships at Evergreen. Craig Race is Principal with Craig Race Architecture Inc.
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Navigating to a Sustainable Future with LEED for Homes Finding one’s way in the world has long been an important quest for humanity. Up until the 18th century for example, one of the biggest challenges for navigation was how to measure longitude in a reliable and consistent manner while at sea.
Until this challenge was solved, sailors were basically guessing where they were, sometimes with disastrous results. By Thomas Green
KAREN’S PLACE ON CLEMENTINE BY OTTAWA SALUS CORPORATION. THIS PROJECT IS CERTIFIED LEED CANADA FOR HOMES V2009 PLATINUM AND RECEIVED CAGBC’S 2018 “EXCELLENCE IN GREEN BUILDING: INSPIRING HOME AWARD”.
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Fast forward to now, as global climate change is the defining problem of today and finding our way to a more sustainable lifestyle is the challenge of our generation. Essential to solving this task are tools and resources that can help us navigate our way, just as the chronometer, charts and other instruments were used to plot efficient and safe journeys for early explorers. In the residential sector, the most comprehensive sustainable building navigation tool available is the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) green building rating system. Launched in Canada in 2009, the LEED for Homes rating system has continuously evolved to push the market with new and more stringent sustainability parameters, add emphasis on quality assurance and to encourage real world performance reporting. LEED for Homes is a broad, holistic and flexible green building rating system that identifies key performance metrics for sustainable housing from single family dwellings to high-rises, can be customised to cater to an owner’s specific project and performance goals, and includes independent third party verification. To date, there are more than 7,500 LEED homes registered in Canada, of which over 3,500 are certified. Responding to the vital question “What should a sustainable housing project accomplish?”, LEED for Homes was developed upon a set of seven Impact Categories that focus on specific social, environmental and economic goals, including: 1. Climate Change – reverse contribution to climate change 2. Human Health – enhance human health and well-being 3. Water Resources – protect and restore water resources 4. Biodiversity – protect biodiversity and ecosystem services 5. Material Resources – promote sustainable and regenerative resource cycles 6. Green Economy – build a greener economy 7. Community – enhance community, social equality, environmental justice and quality of life With LEED v4 in operation for over 4 years and a LEED for Homes v4.1 update on the way, continuous improvement keeps the LEED green building rating system responsive and dynamic in a world where building performance expectations are evolving quickly.
LEED FOR HOMES IS A BROAD, HOLISTIC AND FLEXIBLE GREEN BUILDING RATING SYSTEM THAT IDENTIFIES KEY PERFORMANCE METRICS FOR SUSTAINABLE HOUSING. LEED GOLD VILLAS DU MISTRAL BY SOTRAMONT.
Building on LEED v4 experience and market readiness, the LEED v4.1 update is focused on the implementation, applicability and agility of LEED – a next evolution of the rating system. The goals of the LEED for Homes v4.1 update are to: • Address market barriers and lessons learned from LEED v4 project teams • Update performance thresholds and reference standards • Expand the marketplace for LEED • Incorporate performance reporting to the improve life cycle performance of buildings. With increasing attention on a clean environment, health and wellbeing, the continually evolving LEED for Homes green building rating system offers leading edge value and confidence for clients wanting the experience, environmental benefits and cost savings a LEED certified home can bring, to chart our own path towards a sustainable future. To learn more about how the LEED for Homes program can strengthen the business case for your next project, visit the CaGBC website (www. cagbc.org/LEED) or contact me at email@example.com. Thomas Green is the Manager of Residential Programs at CaGBC.
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Intractable Problems Need New Sustainable Solutions Everyone is talking about the high cost of housing these days. It’s no longer just a big city problem, as communities across the country struggle with skyrocketing rents and house prices.
PARKDALE LANDING IN HAMILTON IN 2016. INDWELL ADOPTED THE PASSIVE HOUSE STANDARD TO DEMONSTRATE THAT DEEP ENERGY EFFICIENCY AND REDUCED GHGS CAN BE ACHIEVED, CREATING LONG-TERM SUSTAINABILITY. PHOTO BY GRAHAM CUBITT
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Homelessness is rising, but so is the anxiety for many households that they’re being left behind, that they are not included in the rising tide of wealth seemingly created by real estate appreciation. And there doesn’t seem to be a lot the market will do to change this reality. In the face of these intractable problems, what can we do? By Graham Cubitt and George Sweetman
THE BUILDING ENVELOPE IS COMPLETELY SEALED TO PREVENT INFILTRATION.
INDWELL HAS FOUND THAT THE INCREMENTAL COSTS TO BUILD TO PASSIVE HOUSE ARE NOT MORE THAN 3-5%.
LAYERED CONSTRUCTION OF THE ENVELOPE AND RAINSCREEN CLADDING SYSTEMS PREVENT THERMAL BRIDGING.
Indwell is a Hamilton-based Christian charity that creates affordable housing communities for people seeking health, wellness, and belonging. Over the past decade, Indwell has become Ontario’s largest developer of new affordable housing with supports, building hundreds of new affordable rental apartments for people living with very low incomes due to disability, addiction, or other challenging circumstances. In the process, Indwell’s approach has evolved to reflect a new understanding that sustainable affordable housing can go beyond just lowering energy use to achieving broad public benefits.
This first foray into high-performance construction was designed to be 41% better than the National Energy Code for Buildings (NECB). Subsequent projects plotted steady gains, but there seemed to be a threshold for efficiency that couldn’t be achieved without a paradigm shift.
Indwell started building new rental apartments in 2006 with conventional stacked townhouses: cost effective, functional, but inefficient. In 2011, Indwell opened the Dr. John M. Perkins Centre, an adaptive-reuse conversion of a former nightclub and rooming house in East Hamilton, creating 46 studio apartments and a community development centre.
In 2016, Indwell decided to adopt Passive House standards for the three projects then in design. Now opening, these projects are starting to demonstrate that deep energy efficiency and reduced GHGs can be achieved, creating long-term sustainability for not only the buildings themselves, but also tenants and their communities. Sustainability is predicated on systems not being in crisis. This is as true for human communities as it is for buildings, economies, and ecologies. Indwell has realized that supporting tenants with the basics of problem-solving, life skills, or community integration can be as critical for their stability as the financial affordability of their apartment.
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2 6 9
8 8 4
1 Kitchen 2 Restaurant multi-use 3 Stairs
Floor plans and building section
4 Leasable retail 5 Meeting room 6 Lobby
7 Vestibule 8 Bathroom 9 Storage
10 Elevator 11 Office 12 Units
13 Common room 14 Elevator lobby 15 Laundry room
ONE OF THE 55 BACHELOR UNITS. THE AVERAGE CONSTRUCTION COST OF A BACHELOR UNIT & SUPPORTING STAFF AND AMENITY SPACES WAS APPROXIMATELY $135,000/UNIT, INCLUDING THE PASSIVE HOUSE UPGRADES, AND WAS CONSTRUCTED WITHIN 4% OF THE BUDGET.
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ABOUT 30% OF THE EXISTING BUILDING NEEDED TO BE DISMANTLED AND REPLACED WITH A NEW STEEL FRAME STRUCTURE AND PRECAST HOLLOW CORE CONCRETE FLOORS, WITH CORRUGATED STEEL SIDING. PETO MACCALLUM COMPLETED THE PHASE ONE AND TWO ESA, SUPPLEMENTAL PHASE TWO ESA, SITE REMEDIATION, AND RISK ASSESSMENT (RA) CULMINATING IN A RECORD OF SITE CONDITION (RSC) FOR THE SITE, WITH A CERTIFICATE OF PROPERTY USE (CPU) FOR THE DEVELOPMENT. THE PROJECT USES A HIGHLY EFFICIENT FTXL™ FIRE TUBE BOILER BY LOCHINVAR AND REQUIRES ONLY A 6.2 SQ.FT. FOOTPRINT.
On top of the personal benefits of stability, the economic savings to social systems are also dramatic through stable housing: for example, a day living in hospital can be over 20x the cost of a day living at home.
At a time when public sentiment is focused on ensuring efficient public investments, the economic value of creating sustainable affordable housing with supports has never been clearer.
Building multi-residential housing to Passive House standards makes sense economically. From Indwell’s experience, the incremental costs to build to Passive House are marginal – not more than 3-5% - over building a high-quality conventional building. The differences in the design and detailing of the building envelope are offset by the changes in HVAC and other systems that can reduce costs.
Indwell’s approach to building new Passive House multi-residential buildings combines significant private investments (donations and loans) with public investments (forgivable long-term loans or grants) with rents set at rates tenants can sustain – roughly $500/month for a 1-bedroom apartment.
The result is sustainable buildings that achieve a higher state of equilibrium, avoiding the “crises” of constantly conditioning indoor air impacted by uncontrolled infiltration, for instance. In the long run, tenants benefit from utility cost savings and the environment benefits from lower emissions. Indeed, two of Indwell’s current projects will cut energy use by over 60%, and GHG emissions by over 70%. One project, a 34-unit apartment building, will even create more electricity than it consumes thanks to a 41-kwh solar array.
The results are communities where people experience health, wellness, and belonging. These outcomes are sustainable because they don’t require crisis-mode responses to tenant needs, environmental challenges, or financial constraints. In the end, these high-performance buildings prove their value by creating highly efficient public-benefit infrastructure that meets the tests of economic, environmental, and social sustainability for the long term – and that’s an investment worth making. Graham Cubitt is the Director of Projects & Development at Indwell. George Sweetman is a Project Developer at Indwell.
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Building Better Housing through Intensification
AN EXAMPLE OF MISSING MIDDLE HOUSING IN PORT CREDIT. PHOTO: AXEL DRAINVILLE.
How and where we build housing has a significant impact on its affordability, suitability, and sustainability. One big opportunity to improve the quality of housing in all of these areas can be achieved through the thoughtful intensification of our cities with Missing Middle housing. By Graham Haines The past ten years have seen the GTA’s new housing supply delivered via “tall and sprawl”—i.e. small condos in high-rise towers and larger housing units at the urban fringe. This pattern leaves end users, particularly families and larger households, with little choice in the housing market. They are forced to choose between an expensive condo in the urban core that is likely to be unsuitable (for lack of multiple bedrooms), or a single-detached house that comes with a long, stressful commute.
A Ryerson CBI research report, Bedrooms in the Sky, demonstrates that the high-density intensification we have seen in our cities over the past ten years comes in the form of small condo units targeted to investors rather than end-users. If we want to build a more affordable region, while protecting our valuable natural capital and agricultural lands, we need to move away from “tall and sprawl” and investor-led development, and start a new approach to housing development. At the Ryerson City Building Institute, we recently completed an analysis published as “Finding the Missing Middle in the GTHA.” Our analysis shows that there is significant room to add housing in our cities as they exist today without relying on high-rise towers—in other words there is significant potential to intensify our cities with Missing Middle housing. There is room at our transit stations and along transit corridors to add new mid-rise, mixed-use buildings; room in our residential neighbourhoods to add new low-rise apartments and multiplexes; and a bevy of strip malls and commercial plazas that can be converted into townhouse developments or vibrant mixed-use buildings.
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GRAPHIC: RYERSON CBI.
Our study took a deep dive into the opportunities to build new Missing Middle housing in Mississauga. With a conservative approach to density, we found room for 174,000 new housing units with an average size of over 1,000 square feet1. This amount of housing could accommodate 435,000 new residents, adding significant new talent and vibrancy to Mississauga. These 174,000 housing units were predominantly delivered in areas Mississauga has identified for growth— growth centres, GO stations, transit corridors, and at old low-density commercial lots. Furthermore, this amount of housing is more than enough to accommodate all of Mississauga’s projected growth well into the future—over the next 15 years Peel region has forecasted that Mississauga will grow by 50,000 residents. Even more housing could be delivered in Mississauga via “Yellowbelt” intensification: adding new density into single-family residential areas through the introduction of walk-up apartments, multiplexes, and accessory units such as laneway and side-yard suites. Many of these forms were permitted in our residential neighbourhoods when we first started building them, but have since been restricted. Yellowbelt intensification can also help revitalize our residential neighbourhoods, many of which are now losing population as demographics shift, leading to school closures and the loss of other services. New density can help reverse this trend. But the benefits of intensification and more Missing Middle housing don’t end there. Research has shown that intensification has a number of environmental benefits that can help us meet our climate change goals. Modelling that Ryerson CBI carried out with Boston Consulting found that the average resident living in a high-density downtown area is accountable for about half the greenhouse gas emissions as a resident in a low-density single detached neighbourhood2.
The primary reason being that intensification makes it easier for new residents to get around by transit, biking or walking. Instead of a long commute from the edge of our urban areas, intensification means that new residents are more likely to live close to established employment centres; this means even if they do still drive they’ll have a shorter commute than they would have otherwise. Intensification also shifts new residents away from low-density subdivisions featuring single-detached houses into higher-density neighbourhoods of townhouses, duplexes, and apartment buildings. Research has shown that these buildings are typically more energy-efficient than single-detached houses, leading to further climate benefits. Finally, intensification brings new jobs, services, and amenities to neighbourhoods. This means existing residents also benefit from intensification since they’ll have more job opportunities, as well as shorter distances to travel for groceries, medical appointments, and entertainment. In order to move away from “Tall and Sprawl” and instead better promote Missing Middle intensification, municipalities should study all opportunities they have to add housing. This would allow them to make informed changes to their zoning by-laws to permit the housing we need. With more transparent and informed zoning, municipalities could also establish more transparent community benefit requirements, rather than relying on ad hoc section 37 agreements. Together these changes would create a clear understanding of what is permissible on a given lot, reduce density based speculation, and de-risk the development process. Getting development policy right is important as it means we will be able to deliver more Missing Middle housing through intensification. Ultimately, whether in our Yellowbelt, at transit stations, or along our main streets, it is clear that our cities can accommodate significantly more housing if we are committed to it. This would mean more affordable, more suitable, and more sustainable housing for residents today and into the future. Graham Haines is Research Manager at the Ryerson City Building Institute.
1 The detailed results of our analysis are presented in our report Finding the Missing Middle in the GTHA: An Intensification Case Study of Mississauga.
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2For more about this analysis see Ryerson CBI’s policy paper It’s Cool to be Smart: How Ontario’s Growth Plan can Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions.
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West 5: Net-Zero Energy over 70 acres s2e Technologies has specialized in at-scale energy projects since approximately 2006. Our corporate history has spanned the formation of several partner businesses, each focussed on specific large-scale projects that delivered on sustainability, using business tools as their key catalyst. s2e won’t do business unless we can save carbon along the way, but our history has also seen the successful creation of over 25,000 person-years of employment and over $6 billion in economic development. We’ve long bought into the idea that doing what is right will always pay off in the end. THE SIFTON CENTRE AT WEST 5. PHOTO: S2E TECHNOLOGIES INC.
By Derek Satnik West 5 is the latest of s2e’s scale-impact projects, and there will be more to follow. The project is a partnership with Sifton Properties in London, ON: a family owned real-estate development company with a 90-year history of innovating locally. Together, s2e and Sifton spent 2013 and part of 2014 studying how to transform 70 acres of urban edge land into a self-contained village that could provide all its own energy, water, food, and waste management. In 2014 we leveraged as much of that study as we could into the master plan that is now under construction. Sifton’s new head office building is now occupied, as are the first 80 townhomes and a new pet services clinic, to be followed shortly by another commercial office building, the first 11 story mid-rise, and another block of townhomes. By 2030 this site is expected to have over 2,500,000 ft2 of buildings, including some 2,000 homes, some 300,000 ft2 of commercial space, and another 100,000 ft2 of retail.
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And all of these buildings, together, will achieve net-zero energy. Using variable refrigerant flows (VRF) to deliver air-sourced heating/cooling, heat recovery systems on air and drain-water, highly efficient lighting, fans, pumps, and building systems, high levels of insulation, good windows, and many (MANY) solar panels, each building is designed to be at least 50% more efficient than the Ontario Building Code. The townhomes are all net positive. The energy surpluses from some buildings are used to make up the lack in others. Anything more than four storeys tall is struggling to achieve net-zero energy, but the smaller buildings are doing their part to help their taller neighbours, and West 5 will truly work like a community, enabled at the micro-grid level.
THE PLAN CALLS FOR 2,000 HOMES. THE TOWNHOMES BUILT SO FAR ARE ALL NET POSITIVE. PHOTO: S2E TECHNOLOGIES INC.
THE PLAN FOR WEST 5 IS TO TRANSFORM 70 ACRES INTO A SELF-CONTAINED VILLAGE THAT CAN PROVIDE ALL ITS OWN ENERGY, WATER, FOOD, AND WASTE MANAGEMENT. PHOTO: S2E TECHNOLOGIES INC.
So why is this all happening in London, ON? Right in the middle of southwestern Ontario, between three great lakes and just outside the commuter ring for Toronto, London is in a micro-climate that offers a lot of snow and very little sun through the winter. This amazing project landed here for the best and the worst reasons: on the positive, the City and local utilities were extremely supportive. On the negative, London’s winter is relatively harsh, and Ontario’s energy prices are artificially (ie: politically) low. s2e has other projects in Latin America where the base cost of energy is twice that in Ontario and the sun shines twice as strong, so projects there have much stronger returns. London is a great example of a typical mid-sized growing centre (at ~350,000 people), and it represents a highly repeatable example for other regions to follow. Because of London’s relatively low energy costs and modest solar gains, if net-zero works in London then it will work across most of the developing world.
What are some of the key lessons West 5 can offer to others? 1. Micro-grids are brilliant: Designing one building at a time will limit the efficiencies that can be gained, but combining buildings into larger and more diverse groups will enable them to share synergies which offset each other and result in further savings.
THIS TWO-STOREY, 250 SQUARE FOOT NEDLAW LIVING WALL BIOFILTER ACTIVELY REMOVES HARMFUL VOCS FROM INSIDE THE SIFTON BUILDING AND ALSO GENERATES 2,500 CUBIC FEET OF VIRTUAL OUTSIDE AIR PER MINUTE. (PHOTO COURTESY OF NEDLAW LIVING WALLS.).
2. Water is a touchy subject: The feasibility study which became West 5 included a chapter on net-zero water, but this proved unattractive to the City. In short, the development team would have needed to build exactly what the City always builds, without deviating, and could add whatever additional measures they wished… at their additional cost. There was no room for innovation, and no budget for a fully redundant system, so traditional site water practices prevailed. 3. Technology is not the issue: West 5 confirmed that there was abundantly more technology than we needed in order to achieve net-zero. The problem was getting that technology implemented on site for a reasonable cost, and then having affordable support for ongoing maintenance. 4. Talk early and often… but not too often: The City of London was deeply involved very early, and has been mostly delightful to deal with. West 5 negotiated an Urban Design Guideline with the City which was intended to guide the design of all future buildings in West 5, addressing the City’s needs proactively such that future reviews could be streamlined as each new building came for permit. This sounded good, except that the City’s urban review committee still wanted to review every building one at a time thereafter, in detail, so the Urban Design Guideline has thus far been redundant and saved nothing… much to the builder’s frustration. West 5 is truly only just ramping up, so more lessons are surely coming, and we’re looking forward to sharing those in due time! Derek Satnik is the Vice President of Technology, Smart Communities at s2e Technologies Inc.
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Exploring Air-Source Heat Pumps as an Energy Efficiency Solution Despite the significant use of natural gas for heating residential buildings in Ontario, 24% of multi-unit residential buildings (MURB) are still electrically heated, with most constructed from the 1960’s to the mid-1990’s (TAF, 2016). Of the electricity consumed by electrically heated MURBs (EMURBs), 42% is for space heating, consuming approximately 1921 GWH provincially (TAF, 2016). Heat pump retrofits in the electricallyheated MURB (EMURB) sector present a significant opportunity to reduce electricity consumption, carbon emissions, and operating costs, while simultaneously improving tenant comfort and safety. Various heat pump options are available, including both air- and groundsource (i.e. geothermal).
Energy and Jama Property Management carried out a study to evaluate the real-world performance of ductless multi-ASHPs in a Brantford, ON rental rowhouse complex in 2017/2018. Rowhouse units were 2-storey, 2- or 3bedrooms, and between 1,500 to 1,800 ft2. Four rowhouses received ductless multi-split AHSP retrofits in November 2017 and two rowhouses were monitored as study controls. One indoor wall-mounted fan coil was installed in the main living space on the first level and the others were installed in each bedroom on the second floor. Refrigerant lines connecting the indoor and outdoor fan coils were predominately run on the exterior of the rowhouses, providing a simple, quick and minimally-invasive retrofit (Figures 2 and 3). Each indoor fan coil was controlled by its own remote creating a zoned system. The 3-bedroom units used the conventional version, which is able to extract heat energy from outside air down to -15°C. The 2-bedroom units used a cold-climate version of the technology, which is able to operate in outdoor temperatures of -25°C, and beyond, but with a cost premium. Each unit was equipped with a remote monitoring package to measure energy consumption and calculate the energy savings of the heat pumps. FINDINGS Calculations comparing the pre- and post-retrofit energy consumption suggest that the ductless multi-split ASHP retrofits provide an energy savings of approximately 20 to 30% of the total bill during a typical heating season for the study units. Cooling mode energy savings were estimated by comparing the energy consumption of a control unit (using window shaker air-conditioners) and a retrofitted unit. The data suggest that the heat pump uses less than a third of the energy of the window shakers to keep a unit at comfortable levels during a typical summer. Average annual electricity savings was estimated at $850 per year including both heating and cooling mode operation.
By Amanda Yip Multi-split ductless air-source heat pumps (ASHPs), for example, are generally considered a good retrofit option because of their relative ease of installation. They can entirely displace an electric baseboard heating system, while also provide high-efficiency cooling. Multi-split ductless ASHPs consist of a single outdoor fan coil unit (Figure 1) connected to multiple ductless indoor fan coil units. Indoor fan coils can be floor-, wall- or ceiling-mounted. Connections are made through small diameter refrigerant piping that can be run on the exterior of the building or on the interior within tight spaces, minimizing the amount of finish work accompanying the retrofit. PROJECT OVERVIEW Although the technology is mature, there have been few field monitoring studies of ductless ASHP performance. TRCA’s Sustainable Technologies Evaluation Program (STEP), in partnership with The Atmospheric Fund, Bloom Centre for Sustainability, Cricket 26
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OUTDOOR COIL AND REFRIGERANT LINE SET FOR THE MITSUBISHI HEAT PUMP INSTALLED IN A 3-BEDROOM ROWHOUSE UNIT.
COMPONENTS OF A DUCTLESS MINI-SPLIT ASHP. A MULTISPLIT SYSTEM CONSISTS OF SEVERAL INDOOR UNITS CONNECTED TO ONE OUTDOOR UNIT. IMAGE COURTESY OF MITSUBISHI.
The real-world performance of the heat pumps was influenced by a variety of variables that are difficult to quantify. These include higher return temperatures, parasitic heat losses from refrigerant lines, compressor cycling and occupant set-point changes. Though energy savings were found to be substantial, these factors are suspected to have caused a lower installed efficiency than the rated efficiency for these study units. These factors should be considered in business case evaluations of future retrofits. FUTURE WORK The strength of the business case for multi-split ASHP retrofits, as with any heat pump retrofit, needs to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis and consider non-energy benefits, including: increased property values, increased marketability of the units, improved tenant retention and overall satisfaction, and the improved health, safety (i.e. reduced risk of heat exhaustion in summer) and comfort of tenants. A key challenge facing ductless multi-split ASHPs is the up-front installation and equipment costs, which were greater than $10,000 for the units considered in the study. Other heat pump technologies, such as ductless mini-split and variable refrigerant flow, may be more appropriate for a retrofit depending on a building’s size and cost criteria for the retrofit.
(LEFT) OUTDOOR COIL AND REFRIGERANT LINE SET FOR THE HEAT PUMP MOUNTED IN THE 2-BEDROOM ROWHOUSE UNIT. (RIGHT) REFRIGERANT LINE SET WAS RUN THROUGH THE BASEMENT AND THEN ON THE EXTERIOR AT THE FRONT OF THE HOUSE TO REACH THE FRONT BEDROOM.
Where low installations costs are key, a ductless mini-split heat pump with a single-port may be the most suitable heat pump option as it is about a third of the upfront cost of the multi-split. For larger MURBs, variable refrigerant flow (VRF) ASHP systems may also help to bring the per-unit installed costs down because it centralizes the main heat pump components. It is also recommended that future retrofits incorporate initiatives to support occupants in lowering their energy consumption through energy conservation. Findings from this study revealed that occupants may not be aware of the added energy costs of higher heating mode temperature set-points and they may also benefit significantly from real-time feedback on their energy consumption. This study has demonstrated that ductless ASHPs are reliable, easy to retrofit, provide substantial savings, are user-friendly and greatly improve thermal comfort. As one tenant from the study put it: “Honestly, who wouldn’t want to convert from those [baseboard] heaters to something far better, right?” For more information or to learn more about partnering with STEP on a technology evaluation, please contact Amanda Yip, Coordinator with the TRCA’s Sustainable Technologies Evaluation Program at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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THE PLANT, A NEW CONDOMINIUM DEVELOPMENT IN TORONTO’S QUEEN WEST NEIGHBOURHOOD, WILL GENERATE NEW IDEAS ABOUT COOKING, GROWING, AND LIVING LOCALLY. ALL IMAGES: WINDMILL DEVELOPMENT GROUP LTD. AND CURATED PROPERTIES.
Sustainability at the Plant: Beyond Bricks and Mortar Toronto was recently given the moniker of Best Food City in North America by famed restauranteur Eddie Huang. It was another internationally recognized chef, Greg Baxtrom, who facilitated a launch dinner for The Plant, a new condominium development in Toronto’s Queen West neighbourhood, to generate new ideas about cooking, growing, and living locally.
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The spirit of this launch event encapsulates The Plant’s raison d'etre: to enable terrace-to-table living, making vertical living more humane, healthy, and sustainable. By Corey Bialek
With The Plant, the development team of Windmill Development Group and Curated Properties has demonstrated what can manifest when the definition of building-scale sustainability is expanded beyond bricks and mortar. Inspired by Bioregional’s One Planet Living sustainability framework, The Plant’s design is inherently holistic, celebrating the social, environmental, and economic dimensions of green building. Using an integrated design process, the development team engaged with Urban Equation, a sustainability consultant, to weave the ten One Planet Living principles into the project’s concept and goals at the earliest stages of the project – a move carried though to project marketing, event planning, and design. Urban Equation’s mandate is informed by a belief that there is an immediate need to change how we build. In this case of The Plant, this meant planning, designing, and building for residents, not investors. “The Plant offered [Urban Equation] an opportunity to strike a balance between sustainable aspirations and the complex realities of urban development in Toronto,” notes Jenny McMinn, the Managing Director of Urban Equation. “Working with Windmill, our sister company, allowed us to operate as a vehicle to share their knowledge and contribute to a project that advances innovative ways of thinking about sustainable development – to deliver on the development team’s homegrown philosophy.” INSPIRED BY BIOREGIONAL’S ONE PLANET LIVING SUSTAINABILITY FRAMEWORK, THE PLANT’S DESIGN IS INHERENTLY HOLISTIC, CELEBRATING THE SOCIAL, ENVIRONMENTAL, AND ECONOMIC DIMENSIONS OF GREEN BUILDING.
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RESIDENTS LIVING IN THE 74 SUITES WILL HAVE ACCESS TO AN AMENITY SPACE THAT INCLUDES A COMMUNAL KITCHEN AS WELL AS GARDEN PLOTS AND EATING AREAS DESIGNED TO FOSTER PLANTING, PICKING, AND COMMUNITY GATHERING.
In the context of The Plant, this thinking precipitated a building program that embraces local food and ecology: large balconies and terraces to grow plants and vegetables, a green roof suitable for flora and fauna, planter boxes that welcome butterflies and birds, and a façade of greenery with biophilic undertones. It also espouses low-carbon living by way of a geothermal heating and cooling system and LED lighting. The development team’s attention to ecology and low carbon loomed large in achieving Toronto Green Standard (TGS) Tier 2 performance, a process managed by Urban Equation. As articulated by Alex Speigel, a partner at Windmill, “[t]he development team was committed to moving the goal posts as it relates to sustainability. Achieving TGS Tier 2 performance is indicative that we can build sustainably within the confines of a project pro forma, delivering both sustainable and resilient built form and sound financial returns.” The latter, incidentally, bore out in the purchase of all units within the first two weeks of hitting the open market.
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With a focus on ecology and low-carbon living, future residents of the Plant will enjoy new forms of vertical living enhanced by community amenities and diverse uses. Residents living in the 74 suites will have access to an amenity space that includes a communal kitchen as well as garden plots and eating areas designed to foster planting, picking, and community gathering. The mixed-use podium, meanwhile, will offer a curated mix of office space, shops, independent retailers, and cafés, adding to the existing richness of the Queen West tapestry and embodying a number of OPL principles, including health and happiness, equity and local economy, and culture and community. The Plant is a story of planning from the ground up. Of planting the seeds of sustainability early in the design process. Seeds that will continue to grow past design and construction into the occupancy phase, when residents are empowered to live locally, healthily, and sustainably. After all, the philosophy of The Plant is not just about growing food, but growing people too. Corey Bialek is a Sustainability Analyst, working at Urban Equation’s Toronto office.
MARK YOUR CALENDARS
2019 MAY 28 – 30, 2019 VANCOUVER CONVENTION CENTRE
FALL 2018 Toronto FOCUS For sponsorship opportunities contact | Sarah Burns | 613-288-8097 | email@example.com
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