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This Eastern Ontario house sits between cedar, maple, and birch forests, granite rock outcroppings, and a lake which lines the southern property line. The building’s efficient design uses aging-in-place principles, so the clients, a couple who enjoy the serenity and beauty of nature, can enjoy their home for decades into the future.
The house is one-storey tall, with no basement, minimal stairs, and an entrance en grade. The structure sits directly on bedrock, making it a structurally challenging one to build, yet incredibly sturdy – the home had to be expertly planned and immaculately designed, as pipes, wiring and drains needed to be embedded in the rock before the structure was even built!
The house also uses many passive solar design strategies, such as a long southern exposure in the home’s Great Room, with floor-to ceiling fiberglass-framed triple-glazed windows, and a 4ft overhang on the roof, which shades the room from the hottest sunlight in high summer. The Great Room consists of a kitchen, dining room, and living area, with a large, freestanding fireplace that stands in the centre of the room.
The wife, a nature blogger who works from home, lays claim to the Great Room’s corner office in the south-west corner, close to the enclosed porch so she can wander while she works. Three bedrooms, one which can be converted into an office for when the husband works from home, and two bathrooms line the northern edge of the home. Adjacent to the home, an attached two-car garage stands on the property.
Not only is this home modern, beautiful, and clean. It is also extremely energy efficient. The home’s air change rate is only 0.59ACH @ 50 pa, which falls just below Canada Passive House Institute’s rigorous standard of 0.6 ACH. The home uses the environmentally conscious Roxul Mineral Wool as insulation and uses an efficient and advanced Zip Wall, a specially treated sheathing which is taped to the building’s frame.
This sheathing was attached around the entire home, including on the roof, in order to create a seamless, consistent air barrier. The home’s pre-finished steel siding, wooden porches, and flat roof, were all specifically chosen to compliment the surrounding natural landscape, creating a seamless integration between the human-made and the organic. Finally, the building’s roof was prepped for solar panels during construction, which, as of April 2016, are in the process of being installed.