Terri Meyer Boake B.E.S. B.Arch. M.Arch.
Associate Professor School of Architecture University of Waterloo

Case Studies in Canadian Sustainable Design:
Image Gallery:

CMHC Healthy House

Martin Liefhebber Architect

Toronto, Ontario


About the building:

In June 1991, CMHC announced its Healthy Housing Design Competition. The objective was to demonstrate to the public and the housing industry that it is now possible to design houses for the Canadian climate that are in keeping with the principles of sustainable development and are healthy for the occupants. The competition challenged the industry to develop innovative ways to design homes with the right balance of occupant health, energy efficiency, resource efficiency, environmental responsibility and affordability. In February 1992, an independent jury selected two winners, one in Vancouver and one in Toronto. The Toronto winning entry is a 1,700 square foot semi-detached house on a vacant (infill) lot in an older part of the city known as Riverdale.




Front view of the easterly of the pair of houses.
Closer view of front of house. Upper balcony opens onto the bedroom. The lower balcony opens onto the kitchen/dining area.

Close up view of PV screen suspended from balcony railing.
View of light scoop along side of building that takes light into the lower bermed areas towards the back of the house.

View of rear of house as it back onto the neighbouring yard to the north. Only the top floors have light access from the rear of the building.
Interior showing living room at back.
View out from dining area at south towards the street.
Views of the kitchen (left) and bedroom (right).
Detail of parallam construction and steel pan floors topped with concrete to provide for thermal storage.
A view of the PV array that forms a privacy screen at the top/master bedroom floor of the house.
Oblique view of the connections at the back of this uppermost array. The height of the array (over 3 floors up) required a special contract for cleaning.
View down from top master bedroom balcony onto small front yard below. The yard was used as the terminal stage in the Waterloo Biofilter cleansing system.
Shot of the Waterloo Biofilter unit in a closet on the ground floor of the building. Most of the ground floor was used in battery storage and biofilter. Some of the biofilter storage tanks were located under the floor of the small office at the front of the building.

The images on this site have been taken for use in my teaching. They may be copied for educational purposes. Please give credit. These images may not be reproduced commercially without written consent.

last updated June 25, 2008