This new build, two storey home in Toronto’s East End was completed in 2013. The residents, a growing family, were in dire need of additional living space, yet the property’s compact size and high water table meant that underpinning a basement or adding an addition on the existing building was impossible. The only way to add square footage to this family’s home was by building a new two storey house with a walkout basement on the same footprint as the previous bungalow.
Built by Pro ICF, the new house boasts six times more insulation than the old house, triple-glazed fiberglass windows, high efficiency heating and ventilation systems, and passive solar strategies. Large, south-facing windows maximize heat gain in winter, and exterior shading devices counter the hot sun in summer.
With an Energuide score of 85 and a Walkscore of 80/100, this urban new build is efficient, pleasant, and promotes a healthy, relaxed lifestyle for the family.
The roof is home to an active photovoltaic (PV) solar array, which has been connected to the provincial MicroFIT electricity buy-back program. The array has been hugely effective: from their program start in late March 2014 until the end of December, they generated 4,759 kWh, which was fed back into the grid in exchange for over $2,500 CAD. Our energy consultant for this project, BlueGreen Consulting Group, calculated a 14 percent annual rate of return after only 7.4 years to break even. The cumulative net profit over the next 20 years (assuming that the available solar radiation stays the same) will be in excess of $35,000 CAD.
For such a small urban space, this home sets an environmentally efficient example to the surrounding community, proving that active solar energy collection is not just for sprawling country landscapes. This home begins a new conversation on renewable energy, and shows that the benefits of solar power can be felt anywhere and everywhere.