The National Post
The Globe and Mail
East York’s Observer
Architecture for Humanity
Canadian Home Builders
Ming Pao New Home Supplement
Natural Life Magazine
How? Will we retrofit a wartime house to
achieve near zero energy use.
CMHC EQuilibrium Housing Competition
invited developer-led teams to propose
home designs that would achieve net zero
The Now House™ Team
Lorraine Gauthier – team leader, partner Work Worth Doing
David Fujiwara – architect
John Godden – leading low-rise energy efficiency expert
Malcolm Stephens – mechanical engineer
Harry Mahler – professor of design at OCAD
Todd Falkowsky – industrial designer
Kirsten Greer – historical-cultural geographer and researcher
Gonzalo Cardenas – industrial designer
Kristina Reinders – urban designer
Rafael Gomez – social economist
Criteria for NZEHH Competition
THE HOUSE MUST BE...
Healthy to live in
Highly energy efficient
Able to produce as much energy as it
consumes on an annual basis
The best use of natural resources
Integrated Design Charrette.
60 experts in the sustainable building
business contributed their time and talent.
The first Now House™ is located at 12 Topham Rd.
Topham Park, Toronto is a wartime
housing community with street names
such as ‘Warvet’ and ‘Valor’.
Small changes = Big results
• Reduce emissions by 6 tonnes.
• Achieve an annual energy cost of zero.
• Reduce plug load by 59.8%.
• Reduce heat loss to achieve EGH rating of 84.
• Produce energy on site from renewable resources.
• Use minimal new resources.
• Produce minimal waste.
• Improve indoor air quality.
• Be affordable.
• Be repeatable.
• 2 x 4 wood stud framing
• 1 x 8 wood plank roof sheathing
• asphalt building paper
• paper faced cellulose batt insulation
• poured concrete foundation.
The Existing House
• R32 Flat Ceiling
• R12 Slope Ceiling
• R8 Walls
• R12 basement
• Metal windows
• New metal roof
• Existing 92% efficient
ENERGY: Envelope Upgrades
• Upgrade insulation on the flat roof to R50, sloped to R32
• Remove the siding and partial sheathing to spray and
cross strap with rigid R33
• Enlarge south window space with low e squared; add
light tubes and light shelves
• Redo the basement: R13 rigid for walls, R11 underslab.
ENERGY: Plug Load Reductions
• Change lighting to CFLs and LEDs
• Change appliances to Energy Star
• Add kill switches
• Add day lighting through: light tubes and light shelf
and a bigger south facing window
• Add basement-drying room hooked into new HRV
• Reduce plug load by 59.8%.
ENERGY: Changes To HVAC
• Heating: Keep existing Energy Star high efficiency
furnace, condensing 91%
• Cooling: is no longer necessary
• Hot water: Replace the hot water tank with high
efficiency tankless gas system and use old tank for
• Ventilation: HRV 81% with ECM motor.
ENERGY: On-site Power Generation
• Install solar photovoltaic panels
• Used with standard offer to offset costs and get us
to net zero cost.
ENERGY: Heat Recovery
• Add a Power Pipe drain water heat recovery system
• Add an 81% efficient HRV with ECM motor
• Add a large south-facing window with shading for
summer and operable windows.
• New resources for insulation and solar PV will be
• Siding will be removed and reused
• No demolition of interior walls
• Waste materials will be recycled or ground up for
• Low water use washing machine and dishwasher
• Low flow shower heads and sink faucets
• Dual flush toilet (existing).
• Envelope upgrades will reduce heat loss and plug
loads will be reduced by almost 60%
• Green House Gas emissions will be reduced by
• Trees and vines will be planted for shade and air
• Simple changes at an affordable price achieve net zero
• On-site solar power generation at Ontario Standard offer
offsets the cost of gas
Existing Retrofit Savings
Natural Gas Consumption per Year (cubic meters) 2541.8 555.3 1986.5
Natural Gas Cost per Year $1,266.58 $276.71 $989.87
IMPROVED INDOOR AIR QUALITY
• HRV 81% with ECM motor
• Tox Box filtration with hepa quality filter
• Low VOC finishes
• Operating windows
IMPROVED INDOOR ENVIRONMENT
• More day lighting from new windows and light tubes
• Warmer insulated basement.
• Retrofit Begins: October
• Completion: January
• Tours: January to June
• Monitoring: 12 months post tours.
Now House™ evolves this uniquely
Canadian brand of hearth and home
by updating these post war houses to
new standards of healthy living, energy
efficiency and resource management.