Healthy, Zero Carbon Urban Renovation
Renovating a concrete block garage into a sustainable, energy efficient studio apartment.
The construction industry is predicted to be worth 10.3 trillion dollars by 2050. The environmental impacts of construction is enormous and often ignored. Humans spend 90% of their time inside buildings that are constructed from highly energy intensive processes, using materials that are harmful to our health and the environment. These materials and systems in our homes are silently killing us. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), air pollution is the single largest environmental health risk in the world and is responsible for 7 million deaths every year. Sadly, most of these air pollutants are in the victim’s home.
A client hired the Endeavour Centre to renovate a 700 square foot urban laneway garage into a studio apartment. Our team renovated this garage space over a timeline of five months starting in the demolishing phase and ending with finishing details. Although this project was a renovation, it effectively was a new build since we built exterior walls, the roof, and the floor.
Our project focused on using the most sustainable materials and methodologies, to obtain the highest standards of energy efficiency and indoor air quality; all with an end goal of possessing the smallest environmental footprint.
Pictures of the site before renovations
The pictures above are some of the alternative materials that were used on site, replacing conventional materials. Hempcrete, which is made from hemp fibers and lime, was used for insulation. The earthen floor mixture was made on site from clay, sand, and straw fibers and was used for the entire studio floor excluding the bathroom. Poraver is expanded glass beads, this was used in many of our plasters and insulation on the floor. Tadelakt is a fine finishing plaster that is extremely water resistant and was used for the bathroom walls.
Cellulose was used in the north and south walls.
Pictures of finished studio apartment
Our building achieved the Passive House Institute U.S (PHIUS) standard for air tightness. To obtain this standard, the building has to pass a blower door test where there is a limit of 0.05 cubic feet per minute at 50 pascals and 0.08 cfm at 75 pascals per square foot of gross envelop area. This results in reduced heat loss and energy costs, as well as improved thermal performance and improved thermal comfort. Our project maintained an 80% waste diversion goal which is far above average on a conventional construction site.
Our project was featured in the Canadian Contractor’s magazine. The full article can be found here.