Tour of Greening Homes Deep Energy Retrofit

November 3, 2015

In keeping with our mission of learning about sustainable solutions in the building industry, Humber ASHRAE recently toured an award winning residential Deep Energy Retrofit project on Beechwood Crescent in Toronto.

This two-storey bungalow facing the Don Valley underwent a major transformation after the owners, Andrew Hellebust and Maria Riedstra, decided they wanted a home with superior comfort and minimal energy bills. Numerous partners collaborated on the project, including Sustainable EDGE, BlueGreen Group, Open Architects, and Rivercourt Engineering.

Steven Gray of Greening Homes, who managed the project, was more than happy to show us around.

Passive House 1A picture of Steven holding a picture of himself, installing the radiant ceiling panels

The home features a Ground Source Heat Pump system with radiant panels in the ceilings and slab. An ERV recovers both sensible and latent heat from the exhaust air to minimize losses through the outgoing air stream. This results in 85% heat recovery for the whole system.

The performance of the low-energy HVAC system relies on the building’s airtight envelope. In contrast to a normal house which is full of thermal bridges and drafts, a low-energy house must isolate the conditioned air from the exterior. This provides superior control and comfort.

This is where the Beechwood Project really stands out. The home was tested at 0.44 ACH, or air changes per hour. This measures the rate of infiltration at 50 Pascals of pressure differential across the envelope. The result exceeds the Passive House standard for new buildings (0.60 ACH), the Canadian R-2000 standard (1.5 ACH). This is truly impressive to achieve in a retrofit project, and highlights the extreme attention to detail that the went into this home.

More information about the project can be found at the Greening Homes website here, and here.

UntitledThe Humber ASHRAE crew, on the beautiful deck overlooking the Don Valley

Noteable parties:

Rivercourt engineering:

Sustainable Edge:



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