Architecture Canada n°5 2nd semestre 2008
Architecture Canada n°5 2nd semestre 2008
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  • Parution : n°5 de 2nd semestre 2008

  • Périodicité : semestriel

  • Editeur : Naylor Canada

  • Format : (213 x 276) mm

  • Nombre de pages : 60

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www.raic.org/2008 EQuilibrium Initiative New housing, retrofits under way as part of CMHC’s EQuilibrium initiative By Christopher Guly One wartime house. A community of wartime houses. A million wartime houses across Canada. Now House project plans. « One small house. One million opportunities. » TThe goal is a grand one ; the competition was considerable. But Toronto’s Now House project – which aims to retrofi t an estimated one million Second World War-era houses into near-zero energy homes – was among 12 teams chosen last year by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) to participate in its EQuilibrium sustainable housing pilot. Originally known as Net Zero Energy Healthy Housing, the national program is designed to lower homeowners’energy bills by reducing energy consumption and delivering electricity back to the grid – while promoting water conservation, healthy indoor environments, durability and reduced pollutant emissions. In the fall of 2006, CMHC contracted the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC) to assist in the organization, facilitation and reporting of the activities of the Phase II Selection Committee Evaluation of the EQuilibrium Sustainable Housing Initiative. Robert Webster, FRAIC was engaged as professional advisor and Chantal Charbonneau, RAIC Honours and Awards Manager, provided administrative support to manage the selection process and judging of the proposals on behalf of CMHC. Now House was among 72 teams vying for selection on the fi nal list, which included a project led by mega-developer Minto Developments Inc. « We had no idea whether we would even qualify because we weren’t developers, » says Now House project leader Lorraine Gauthier of the Toronto-based design consultancy, Work Worth Doing. « Architects and engineers helped us with the initial proposal, and lo and behold, we got to the fi nal phase. » The Now House project is a perfect fi t for CMHC’s energy-effi cient homes initiative. The Crown Corporation was founded in 1946, mainly to help create affordable housing for Second World War veterans by building an estimated 30,000 Victory homes across the country. According to CMHC, « Now House evolves this uniquely Canadian brand of ‘hearth and home’byupdating these postwar homes to true EQuilibrium standards of healthy living, energy-effi ciency and resource management. » The goal, as the national housing agency points out, « is as simple as it is profound : 36 ■ THE ROYAL ARCHITECTURAL INSTITUTE OF CANADA/L’INSTITUT ROYAL D’ARCHITECTURE DU CANADA ALEX QUINTO, NOW HOUSE to demonstrate how homeowners and contractors can dramatically improve the energy effi ciency of existing homes with a few relatively simple modifi cations. » After attracting considerable media attention in Canada and the United States, the Now House team, which includes Toronto architect David Fujiwara, MRAIC, will soon unveil its first energyfriendly house – the only one of the 12 projects retrofi tting an existing home and not undertaking a new build. Located in Toronto’s East York district in the Topham Park neighbourhood, the 62-yearold, one-and-a-half-storey, 1,200-square-foot (111-square-metre) post-war Victory home was outfi tted with the latest eco-friendly features and technologies to reach a net-zero energy target – or produce almost as much energy as it uses. Upgrades were made to the insulation. New windows were installed, as were 16 south-facing solar panels on the roof and Energy Star - certifi ed appliances inside the house. A wastewater heat-recovery system was implemented. In addition, the homeowner, John Van Dusen – whose collection of wartime memorabilia is on
display throughout the interior – made his own changes before the Now House team arrived. He installed a new eco-friendly refl ective steel roof and high-effi ciency furnace to reach an EnerGuide for Houses rating of 72, justeight points below Ontario’s target of 80 by 2012. But Gauthier believes the Now Houseupgrades will help increase the EGH rating to almost 94, resulting in a super-energy-effi cient house. By sealingup the building envelope with new insulation and replacing the existing siding (and then reusing it) – along with reducing the electrical plug load by 60 per cent through the use of Energy Star appliances, LED lighting and a heat-recovery ventilator – the plug-load reductions and building envelopeupgrades will result in the lowering of annual greenhouse gas emissions from 9.7 to 4.3 tonnes. Van Dusen willalso save money every year. His natural gas bill – currently estimated at over $1,260 – will be drastically cut by nearly $1,000. Envelopeupgrades will reduce air leakage from 4.61 air exchanges per hour to 1.5. The solar photovoltaic (PV) panels and solar thermal systems will provide power, hot water and subfl oor radiant heat in the basement – and produce energy in the summer to both offset the cost of natural gas used in the winter and generate electricity to return to the grid. For the latter, Ontario will pay the homeowner 42 cents per kilowatt-hour. Based on computer modelling conducted by the Now House team, Van Dusen – who lives on a disability-related fi xed income – will break even on his energy costs at the end of every year he lives in the house. To ensure that everything works, as it should, the first Now House will be closely monitored during its first year. Using some of the $50,000 each project received from CMHC, the team is required to document the projects. The Now House group is also required to conduct energy audits, use monitors and gauges to ensure that every system is achieving its goals and determine whether Basic changes being made to the Now House demonstration home EQuilibrium Initiative the process can be replicated in other homes. « We had to have a quality-assurance protocol to describe how the retrofi t would unfold, every step of the way, » explains Gauthier. « Part of our story is that we recycled everything and reduced the amounts of the resources we needed to bring to the house. « In a way, it was almost like the LEED processin the way we had to describe in detail how we would do things to meet our targets, and document the process from beginning to end. » She estimates the retrofi t cost $85,000, most of which was covered by the Royal Bank THE ROYAL ARCHITECTURAL INSTITUTE OF CANADA/L’INSTITUT ROYAL D’ARCHITECTURE DU CANADA ■ 37 ARCHITECT : DAVID FUJIWARA, ARCHITECT www.raic.org/2008



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