UTSC Passive House Student Residence

3300 Ellesmere Rd, Toronto, ON

Developer: University Toronto Scarborough Campus
Units: 339
Storeys: 9
GFA: 265,147 sq.ft.
Completion Date: 2023

Canada’s most Eco-Efficient Building

The University of Toronto Scarborough is one of Canada’s most “eco-efficient buildings”
University of Toronto Scarborough new student residence is a 9-storey U-shaped massing with 340 dormitory suites and single two-bedroom apartments will accommodate some 747 students with retail at grade. The building was designed specifically with the first-year student experience in mind with durable materials and furnishings that were also easily maintained. The community-focused design includes an integrated dining hall, common lounge, study space on each floor, an outdoor roof garden and terrace, a community kitchen, and a laundry facility.

In keeping with the green design the site has no vehicular parking, but does include 100 bicycle parking spaces. By adhering to these principles, UTSC Passive House is designed to be highly energy-efficient, comfortable, and sustainable, providing significant benefits over conventional construction methods, including lower energy bills, reduced environmental impact, and improved indoor air quality.

Prime Consultant Role

CORE acted as Executive + Architect for a Bridging Contract Document delivery method, where Architectural design work advanced to approximately 90% of the Construction Document set. CORE served as the Prime Consultant, retaining all disciplines for the design phase. Deliverables included submission and approvals for Zoning Bylaw Amendment, Site Plan Approval, construction documents, tender and bid and award, construction administration, closeout, Passive House Accreditation.

Passive House Accreditation

Designed with fully accessible housing and designed to the highest energy efficiency standards, comfort and sustainability, including Passive House accreditation. Designing a Passive House focuses on creating buildings that are ultra-low energy, requiring little energy for space heating or cooling. 

Measurable Passive House Standards

The project will be constructed to U of T’s Passive House (PH) Classic Standards which will include:

  • Super-Insulation
    Goal: Minimize heat loss through the building envelope.
    Strategy: Use high-performance insulation materials in walls, roofs, and floors. The insulation levels often far exceed standard building codes.
  • Airtight Construction
    Goal: Prevent uncontrolled air leakage.
    Strategy: Implement meticulous airtightness measures to eliminate drafts and ensure that the heat recovery ventilation system operates efficiently.
  • Thermal Bridge-Free Construction
    Goal: Avoid thermal bridges that can cause heat loss.
    Strategy: High-performance building envelope that is tightly sealed, robustly insulated and contains no metal to metal conditions (to prevent thermal bridges).
  • High-Performance Windows and Doors
    Goal: Maximize solar gain and minimize heat loss.
    Strategy: Use triple-glazed windows and insulated frames, carefully positioned to take advantage of solar energy while minimizing energy loss.
  • Heat Recovery Ventilation
    Goal: Ensure fresh air without letting heat escape.
    Strategy: Install a heat recovery ventilation (HRV) system to supply constant fresh air, recovering heat from the exhaust air to warm incoming fresh air.
  • Optimizing Solar Gain
    Goal: Utilize the sun’s energy for natural heating.
    Strategy: Orient the building and windows to capture maximum sunlight during the winter months while minimizing overheating during the summer through shading or other passive strategies.
  • Energy Modeling and Performance Testing
    Goal: Ensure the design meets Passive House standards.
    Strategy: Use software tools for energy modeling and perform blower door tests to measure airtightness.
  • Sustainable Materials and Practices
    Goal: Reduce the environmental impact of the building materials and construction process.
    Strategy: Choose low-impact, sustainable materials that have minimal environmental footprints. Employ construction practices that reduce waste and promote sustainability.

Consultant Team

Design Architect: Handel Architects
Structural: Jablonsky Ast and Partners

Interior Design: Handel Architects  & Partisans
Passive House Consultant: Steven Winter Associates
Architect: Arcadis Global/ IBI Group
Landscape: The Planning Partnership
MEP: Integral Group
Building Envelope and Passive House: RDH
Envelope, Acoustics & Wind:
Food Services:
Van Velzen & Radchenko
Matteo Gilfillan
Finnegan and Marshal
Soberman Engineering
General Contractor: Pomerleau Construction