Every Tuesday, Todd Irvine of LEAF posts a stop from the Toronto Tree Tours, a collaborative project of LEAF and the Toronto Public Space Committee. The Toronto Tree Tours offers walking tours in neighbourhoods across the city as well as virtual tours on its web site. The aim is to introduce Torontonians to the individual trees in their neighbourhood while telling stories of our city’s ecological and cultural history.
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The Tree Tours are not all trees. This week’s stop is a profile of an inspiring residential home.
Bain Co-Operative Apartments Tour: Stop 5
Tucked away on Sparkhall Ave, just north of the Bain Co-Op in Riverdale, sits this unique looking building called the healthy house. It was designed by architect Martin Leifhebber in 1991 and was the winning entry in the healthy housing design competition. The goal of the competition was to build a house suitable for the Canadian climate that is environmentally sustainable, healthy for its occupants, and affordable.
The large solar panels on the front generate electricity that can be stored for later use. They also shade the house, further reducing energy demands. Rainfall collected on the roof provides the home’s water supply. Water is recycled by a purification system that mimics the natural path rain follows when it passes through the ground to a spring. As a result, water consumption is 90 percent less than the average household. The healthy house is a compelling example of the alternatives to traditional home construction. Unfortunately, since its creation over a decade ago few other homes like it have been built.
Photograph by Michael Pereira