Willowdale Passive Solar House

CMHC Healthy-Housing Award and LEED Gold

After years of considerably high energy bills, the owners decided to replace their post-war home with a brand-new, highly-efficient home that significantly offsets their energy bills by generating electricity that is sold to the electrical grid as part of Ontario’s microFIT Program. New construction of this grid-connected, passive solar, resource and energy-efficient single-family home in the established Toronto neighbourhood of Willowdale includes optimal use of existing site orientation, ground exchange heating and cooling, rooftop photovoltaic solar electric panels, and sun shading strategies. Self-venting, recyclable Galvalume roofing reflects unwanted solar heat gain, while hydronic radiant floor heating provides comfortable warmth where needed most and Durisol insulated concrete forms and polished concrete floors act as thermal mass, strategically absorbing and releasing heat and humidity to passively maintain a comfortable indoor living space.

SUSTAINABLE.TO are the first architects to be formally recognized by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) for our dedication to creating Healthy Housing. This award validates our approach to sustainable architecture: that a thoughtful approach combining the simple, sensitive and sustainable strategies will result in best possible indoor environmental quality, will decrease energy consumption, and will lead to a sustainable relationship with the biosphere.

Reductions in overall energy-demand through passive strategies, coupled with 10 kW of microFIT-connected solar electric panels on the roof, allow this home to have a net-positive cost of energy at a lower construction cost per sf than a typical Toronto home. A truly remarkable achievement.

Approvals included Committee of Adjustment and Urban Forestry.

North York, ON
396 m², 4,266 ft²
Project Lead:
Donald Peckover
Energy Intensity:
Estimated: 51 kWh/m²
Reduction in Energy Use from Typical:
microFIT Capacity:
10 kW
LEED Consultant:
K H Davis Consulting Engineers
Alpha Comfort Control
Andrew Robertson
Greenbilt Homes