The 11-storey cooperative at 60 Richmond St. E. in Toronto has been awarded LEED Gold certification from the Canada Green Building Council in recognition of the many sustainability features incorporated into this affordable housing initiative. Enermodal Engineering served as the LEED consultant, commissioning agent, and measurement and verification consultant for this project, which was designed by Teeple Architects.
“This is one of the most exciting new social housing projects in Canada, thanks to its striking architecture and holistic view of energy, water, and social issues,” says Steve Kemp, project principal with Enermodal Engineering. “This LEED Gold certification is a perfect recognition of the many ways sustainability was incorporated into the design and operation of this urban environment.”
The project houses people from the hospitality field, and has a public restaurant and training kitchen on the ground floor, serving to animate Richmond Street. A garden has been carved out of the building’s sixth floor which will not only provide the restaurant with herbs and vegetables, but will create the principal social space of the building. The building’s central courtyard permits additional daylighting to reach further into the dwellings, providing natural light to multiple exposures.
An elegant urban farming thesis is incorporated with water and compost harvested and fed to gardens for the propagation of vegetables–which may then be consumed at the restaurant level. This is a full-cycle ecosystem, though on a very small scale.
Indoor water use is a significant environmental issue in residential buildings. Thanks to low-flow water fixtures, the 60 Richmond St. Housing Co-operative will save over 7.5 million litres of potable water each year. This represents a predicted 50 per cent indoor water savings.
The high-performance glazing system consists of fibreglass frames in combination with low-e, argon-filled glazing units with warm edge spacers. All roofs on the project are green surfaces, helping to further insulate the building, limiting the heat island effect in the downtown core, while also absorbing storm water. A cistern collects any remaining stormwater for garden irrigation. Operable windows are provided to all principal spaces of the building to allow natural ventilation in favourable conditions. A sophisticated mechanical system is capable of transferring energy from the warm side to the cold side of the building, and in-suite heat recovery is provided throughout the project.