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The House : Energy

Efficient use of clean energy is an important part of a sustainable home. There are so many ways in which you can make your home more energy efficient. The Archetype Sustainable House incorporates all the following advances in energy efficiency.

House A is intended to demonstrate practices and technologies that are current and practical today. House B demonstrates practices that you will see in future. Come out and visit the Kortight Centre in Vaughan to experience more.

Heating, Cooling

  • R20 basement walls were made with Durisol blocks. "R" stands for resistance against heat flow so this home exceeds normal building standards by 30 per cent.
  • Zoned air conditioning system
  • Micro-cogeneration unit is installed which integrates a heat pump and generator into a simple package delivering air-conditioning, space heating, electrical power generation & hot water.
  • Smart metres are installed to display accurate real-time energy use information to the consumer and the energy supplier.
  • In home energy display monitors were installed to ensure optimal temperature control.
  • Each home demonstrates both an electrical and gas heating and cooling option for consumers and this is a special feature that was installed as long term testing will take place to monitor which system is most efficient.
      House A
    • Electrical option: an air source heat pump
    • Gas option: a solar assisted mini gas boiler
      House B
    • Electrical option: a solar assisted ground source heat pump
    • Gas option: a combined heat and power furnace that uses Sterling Engine to generate electricity and recovers the wasted heat to heat the home
  • In-floor radiant heating which is a method of heating your home by applying heat underneath or within the floor.
  • A heat recovery ventilator which uses fans to maintain a low-velocity flow of fresh outdoor air into the house (incoming air stream) while exhausting out an equal amount of stale indoor air (exhaust air stream).
  • Domestic hot water tank - water heated for uses other than space heating.
  • Drain water heat recovery which is a sealed coil that removes heat from waste water for reuse in preheating hot water.
  • The roof of the house uses R40 Structurally Insulated Panels (SIPs) which are insulated Styrofoam panels.


    House A
  • Double paned, low "E", fiberglass framed windows - Heat loss is greatly reduced with the use of low-E [low-emissivity*] treatment for the glass which reflects heat back into the house during the winter and blocks out radiant heat during the summer.
    House B
  • Triple glaze, low "E" argon windows - The third layer of glass greatly enhances this process making the window a heat processor all on its own.

    *Emissivity is a measure of a material's ability to radiate absorbed energy.


    House A
  • Roxul Batt Fibre Insulation (R21) which is a fire resistant product. Has three inches of Styrofoam on the outside for a total of a R30 wall. This high efficiency insulation allows for a high percentage of heat and air conditioning environment retention through a higher reduction in air exchange through walls, windows, doors, sills, attics/ceilings and more.

    House B
  • Spray foam insulation is used. Two different products were used in different parts of the home: Heat-Lock Soya Polyurethane Foam and Icynene spray foam. Spray foam insulation minimizes air leakage for increased energy efficiency, creates a healthier indoor environment, reduces airborne sounds and offers greater design freedom.

Solar Power

  • Roof integrated solar Photovoltaics (PV) is technology related to the application of solar cells for energy by converting sunlight directly into electricity
  • Solar orientation for passive solar gain which aims to maintain interior thermal comfort throughout the sun's daily and annual cycles while reducing the need for active heating and cooling systems.


  • ENERGY STAR® appliances are used in the house. ENERGY STAR qualified appliances incorporate advanced technologies that use 10 to 50 percent less energy and water than standard models.
  • Lighting is all using compact florescence bulbs which use less power and have a longer rated life.