ZeroHouse Project Builds Carbon-Neutral Home in Ontario

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Ryerson University and the Endeavour Centre have designed and built a home with zero net energy use.

The joint-creation is called ZeroHouse, a fully sustainable, two-storey, 1,100-square-foot home prototype. Using an ‘infill’ housing design, the ZeroHouse can be integrated into existing urban neighbourhoods as walk-up apartments.

ZeroHouse Plans
Floor plans detailing the layout of the two-storey units.

The first stacked townhouse was built over three months using four solar panels to power all the tools and equipment used in the construction. Only 18 pounds of unrecyclable waste were produced in the build—an amount equal to four garbage bags.

The ZeroHouse is designed to optimize daylighting and natural ventilation, and the roof of a single unit—62 square metres—can provide electricity for an entire home.

The design uses modular, prefabricated components, meaning the two-storey unit can be assembled on-site in a few days. Solid ash flooring and maple veneer plywood panels are both affordable and sustainable building materials used in the design. The house is insulated with a combination of organic materials including straw bale, blown in cellulose insulation and wood fibre.

The ZeroHouse was designed with an organic palette of structural, insulation and interior cladding materials.
The ZeroHouse was designed with an organic palette of structural, insulation and interior cladding materials.

The result of the ZeroHouse project is a visually appealing and financially accessible home that sequesters 25 tonnes of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. A similar, traditional home would emit 45 tonnes.

The first installation of a ZeroHouse unit is scheduled for November 20 in Collingwood, Ont.

Photos by Tom Arban

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