Passive House Student Living at University of Toronto Scarborough

Market: Residential - Education
Type: Dormitory
Location: Toronto
Developer/Owner: University of Toronto
Architect: CORE Architects Inc. & Handel Architects LLP
Building Size: 274,000 ft², 8 stories, 746 beds, commercial kitchen/cafeteria
Project Services: Passive House consulting, energy modeling, field verification
Certification: Passive House (PHI)

Project Background

The University of Toronto has the ambitious goal of building their next Student Residence to the Passive House standard. This project is the first of its kind in Toronto, Canada to apply the Passive House standard at this scale and for this typology. Student health and wellness was critical to the University of Toronto’s design goals and the design elements inherent to the Passive House standard will provide a superior indoor environment. Specifically, a student living in this residence will experience superior indoor air quality, better thermal comfort, and less noise from the outside. The project has a dense residential program but the building massing includes three distinct wings to help cluster students and facilitate community. The ground floor includes a commercial kitchen, cafeteria, offices, and student life spaces. The commercial kitchen has a high predicted annual energy demand, requiring selection of the most efficient cooking equipment to align with the energy goals of Passive House. The commercial kitchen design is all-electric with no gas equipment and the ventilation design includes both exhaust heat recovery and demand controls.


Project Services

Steven Winter Associates, Inc. (SWA) is a consulting leader in Passive House student residences. SWA worked closely with Handel Architects, CORE Architects, and Integral Engineering from early design to ensure this project would be built to the Passive House standard. In coordination with the architect and mechanical engineer, SWA developed a Passive House design package and supported the transition of the design to a construction team. SWA remains on the project team in construction to provide oversight of construction verification.

Primary Energy Conservation Measures

  • All electric commercial kitchen equipment
  • Commercial kitchen exhaust air heat recovery & demand controls
  • Variable refrigerant flow (VRF) heating and cooling system
  • Highly efficient, centralized energy recovery ventilation system
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