Coolearth is proud to showcase a diverse range of sustainable and efficient projects. Browse through our selected portfolio to learn more.

450 Pape - Multi-unit Residential Condominium and Heritage Building

This project involves the rehabilitation re-purposing of the Historic Robert Harris house on Pape Avenue into a 2000 m2 (21,500 sqft) 28 unit four-storey residential building. The project will meld the historic eraly 20th Century building with modern, sleek, bright, and efficient rear apartments. Some of the very dramatic original formal rooms of the Robert Harris house, such as living room, and fireplaces are being used as communal amenity space for the residents, preserving, sharing and celebrating the historic beauty of the property. Currently the building is uninhabited and has been abandoned for many years. This project will revitalize the site and building with dramatic new entrances that are accessible, increased energy efficiency and performance through smart design, new landscaping and grading, and smart building construction. It will also revitalize the neighbourhood by creating a living community of families where there is currently a void. The project will add two storey’s to the existing Eastern-side apartment building.

We are working with Catherine Nasmith architects, who we also worked with on Alton Mills, to create a very high quality finished building which celebrates the sites history.

Coniston Seniors Affordable Housing - Sudbury

The project is a 55,000 square foot, 5-storey, 51 unit building located on a plot of underutilized land donated by the City of Sudbury just outside of Coniston, adjacent to a recreational trail, and 2 blocks from a shopping centre and bus route which connects the community to downtown Sudbury. The clients are a non-profit seniors housing corporation who want to create a beautiful, energy efficient, net-zero energy, and functional building, that is also accessible, and designed for aging-in-place.

Coniston Non-Profit Seniors’ Housing Corporation is a community non-profit whose members are local residents currently living in single family homes who would like to move to a smaller, lower maintenance situation where they can age-in-place. Coniston was originally an INCO company town, complete with a smelter. Most of the key employees lived in company housing in the town, forming a very tight knit community. Some new-comers bought into the community but many of the employees stayed and continue to form a tight knit community. This strong community is a project asset.

Parry Sound High Performance House

The principles of Passive House were used throughout to minimize thermal bridges, create a very air tight yet well-ventilated envelope, and to have well insulated walls (R-60 roof, R-43 walls, R-59 exposed floor). The design has a low-embodied carbon footprint because we used timber for the structure, and blown-in fibreglass insulation for the walls and roof. The combination of this elements provides a whole-house solution in a very comfortable house.

The owners learned many of these concepts throughout the process and decided to install a sleek direct vented wood stove which included 2′ of concrete blocks concealed on top of the burning chamber that act as a thermal storage. The house aims to resist blackouts and blizzards by providing alternative heating sources combined with high levels of air tightness and insulation.

Coolearth was asked to design a 2200 sqft permanent residence for a couple looking to move to their dream property on a lake near Parry Sound, Ontario. We worked with them to identify their needs and designed the house to suite their vision.

The houses of Frank Lloyd Wright have always thrilled the couple and they have been able to travel in-person to many of his houses. By combining our client’s experience and inspiration we brought our design and technical abilities to create a four-season high performance house which is bright, well insulated, functional and has a flexible design. While we accentuated the horizontality, like Wright did, of the cottage with overhangs which also double as shades from the hot summer sun, we also used local traditions as an inspiration in the wood and brick cladding.

Net-zero Energy Retrofit of Semi-detached House

We are making this Toronto semi-detached home Net-Zero energy by adding external insulation, making the home air tight, replacing the original single-pane windows with new high performance windows and doors, installing efficient heating and ventilation equipment, and mounting solar panels on the roof. The upgrades to the home will make it more comfortable, improve the appearance of the home, reduce energy consumption and therefore lower Greenhouse Gas Emissions.

There are three phases of the renovation: envelope and window upgrades, mechanical system changes, and the installation of PV panels.

The second stage is aiming to be complete in the Fall of 2017.

Ontario’s climate action plan seeks to improve the energy efficiency and performance of buildings in order to reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions. The province has identified that we need to take all buildings to Net-Zero or near Net-Zero Energy Use. This means upgrading the leaky, badly insulated homes which pre-dominate much of Toronto and were built after World War 2.

Pritzker Mak House

Our clients had an existing one and a half storey home of approximately 1000sf in which they were residing with their three young children. The existing foundations were leaking, the floor layout was awkward, leading to inefficient space usage. They decided to construct a new home that would be able to accommodate their family of five comfortably and functionally. The new home would be 2400sf with attached garage and unfinished basement.

We sat down with our clients and thoroughly went through their needs and desires for their new home. The primary goals were to have an open concept ground floor in order to entertain their large extended family, but still remain at a practical size for day-to-day use; four bedrooms of the same size; as much natural light as possible; and finishes of durable materials to withstand the active lifestyle of their children.

The design developed into a contemporary aesthetic. A glulam beam running from the front of the home to the rear, delineates the space between “Living” areas and “Service” areas. The ground floor has abundant natural light with the rear wall comprised primarily of glazing, and large windows facing the street.


A view into the main dining, living, and kitchen space.  Large windows let in plenty of daylight, while the simple white walls, exposed beam, and overall layout create a sense of open-ness and comfort.


View of main staircase in house.  Built-in bench seating in the window creates a warm, bright, and fun place for the homeowners and their children to relax, read, and socialize.

There are two sets of stairs to encourage flow throughout the home. The primary stair, is a feature stair, visible from the street with a mid-landing that has an integrated window bench. This area is a popular place in the home, for relaxing, reading and even stage performances! The secondary stair at the rear of the home, leads down to a mudroom off the garage and further on down to the basement.

The second floor has a clerestory bump-up located above the hall, which washes the common area and stair with north light. This clerestory has operational windows which when opened utilizes stack effect, to exhaust warm air and hence draws in fresh air through the ground floor windows in order to maintain equilibrium. The four bedrooms are all approximately the same size and layout, with the exception of the Master bedroom being slightly larger with two closets and an ensuite.

The mechanical system is comprised of ducted forced-air heating and cooling. A highly-efficient gas-fired furnace, air-conditioner, and HRV are integrated together to provide both heating/cooling and ventilation air to the home.

Off-grid Net-zero ECOcabin

140919 renderingView of net-zero Eco-cabin from the front, showing spacious deck, large windows, solar panels, durable metal siding and roofing, as well as beautiful remote location

We challenged ourselves to design off-grid cabins that function well and are comfortable throughout the year. Our approach is to super-insulate the walls, minimize air leakage, optimize for solar gain, use a high efficiency energy recovery ventilator, heat with a high performance wood stove, and supply electricity via PV panels. The result is a cabin with a yearly heating cost equal to a face cord of wood, about a 6’ (1.2m) cube of wood.

Normal power is supplied by roof-mounted solar panels hooked up to a battery bank sized to provide sufficient power to see the cabin through 3 weeks of low sun in the winter unoccupied mode, which is the most critical demand. The Cabins should keep comfortable temperatures when left for 2 weeks, and maintain safe temperatures throughout the year.

Cabin features include:

– Modern stylewith large south facing triple-pane windows.
– Four sizes: One bedroom family style (600sf), two-bedroom (800sf), four-bedroom (1200sf), and Luxury four-bedroom (1200sf).
– Super insulation: R57.5 walls, R54 Floor, R67 roof, and R7 windows.
– Solar photovoltaic panel system with battery storage and external generator hook-up and high efficiency lighting.
– Oak stairs and engineered wood floors throughout

Cabins function completely “off‐grid” and are Net-Zero. They have been designed for occupancy both on a year‐round or a 3‐season basis. A highly‐insulated, airtight building envelope with minimal thermal bridging was designed to reduce the heating and cooling loads as much as possible.

The design is based on energy modeling with local weather data.  This weather data includes the locations, temperature, cloud cover, wind, and precipitation. We then design and simulate a model of the cabin as if it were being used by a family.  The challenge to overcome in off-grid buildings, is that studying merely the temperature is not sufficient; the length of time, in days, that the cabin can function without sun must be considered.

Normal power is supplied by roof-mounted solar panels hooked up to a battery bank sized to provide sufficient power to see the cabin through 3 weeks of low sun in the winter unoccupied mode, which is the most critical demand. The Cabins should keep comfortable temperatures when left for 2 weeks, and maintain safe temperatures throughout the year.

Construction Budget $ TBD
Area 1,200 sqft, 800 sqft, 600 sqft
Project Architect Coolearth Architecture Inc.


First and Second Floor plans showing 4-bedroom size with open concept, modern design.  

Bombardier Aerostructure and Flight Test


A view of the front entrance of Bombardier Aerostructures.  As the LEED consultants we took care to match the objectives of Bombardier and the design team with the appropriate LEED requirements in order to design and implement a strategy which achieved the teams target of LEED Silver.

LEED Consulting & Code Review

The Aerostructures Building will be utilized as the structural joining facility for the Final Assembly Line of Bombardier Aerospace’s newest member to our Global Series family of aircraft, the 7000 / 8000. In conjunction with Bombardiers drive for inventiveness and as part of an overarching sustainability agenda, Coolearth was tasked by Bombardier Aerospace to Target LEED Silver for the Final Assembly Line facility with an emphasis on energy efficiency.

The Global 7000 / 8000 business jets continues the Bombardier tradition of astonishing inventiveness. With its new and next-generation technology, the Global 7000 aircraft is the future-minded synthesis of grace and power, providing unprecedented freedom in its most advanced form. Working towards LEED certification is in keeping with this vision.

Coolearth and our mechanical engineers, Robert Mancini and Associates, developed an energy model early in the process, in order to be able to provide iterative feedback throughout the projects development to the design team. Throughout design development, Coolearth modeled all envelope materials under consideration as assemblies, in order determine their actual U-values, which accounts for thermal bridging and leads to more accurate predictions of operational energy use.

Our in-house team of architects used energy models of the building (see right) to study the environmental impact of various design options and help guide the LEED accreditation process.  As consultants we provided models and analyses that the team used to move effectively towards the LEED objectives.

When architects do the energy modeling and analyses, as opposed to sub-consultants or technicians, this offers the  team a very high level of service, value,  expertise, and integration which drives the project forward faster and more effectively.  The ability to model a whole building, including its energy consumption, thermal bridges, heat transfer, and details meant we were able to avoid surprises and work linearly towards LEED Silver accreditation. More information about LEED can be found here.

Coolearth Architecture is a member of the design team lead by exp, Richmond Hill, and includes the architectural group from the firm BRPH Architects-Engineers located in Melbourne, Florida as well as Bombardier Facilities personnel. Furthermore, in addition to our LEED design mandate we are also responsible for Building Code review and architectural construction review.

Owner: Bombardier Inc.
Completion In Progress
Project Architect BRPH


Examples of in-house energy models of thermal properties of teams proposed wall system showed. These showed where thermal bridges will occur and allows us to offer solutions for mitigation.  

Alton Mills - Heritage & Restoration


Code Consulting

The Alton Mill, formerly a wool mill, then a rubber plant, was derelict for many years. It was purchased by The Seaton Group who refurbished it almost as a labour of love. The approach taken by the Project Architect, Catherine Nasmith Architects was to repair and refurbish most elements. Although the original shop floor was subdivided, the upper portions of the walls were constructed of glass to highlight the original character of the ceiling. The building was also brought up to modern health and safety standards. Tacoma Engineers provided restoration structural expertise and Coolearth Architects provided code consulting. J.D.Strachan was the general contractor.

Owner: Jordan and Jeremy Grant, Seaton Group
Construction Budget $3,500,000
Awards Heritage Canada National Achievement Award 2009,
Canadian Association of Heritage Professionals Award of Merit 2009
Completion 2009
Project Architect Catherine Nasmith Architects

Parry Sound DSSAB


Project Architect & LEED Consulting

This 19,000 square foot, LEED Silver facility, brings together under one roof the 50-person team of the District Social Services Administration Board (DSSAB) who were scattered in four seperate small offices. The DSSAB houses Ontario Works, Housing and Childcare services, rationalizing and unifying reception services, privacy, and security.

The project involved 10,000 sqft heavy renovation and 4,000 sqft of light renovation to existing office area as well a 5,000 sqft edition. The building was continuously occupied by the owner during construction.

Owner: Parry Sound DSSAB
Construction Budget $3,500,000
Area 19,000 sqft
Completion Spring 2010
Project Architect Coolearth Architecture Inc.

Malagash House


The project utilizes the principles of passive house design through the integration of a combination of building features, including a highly insulated airtight building envelope, to reduce the need for mechanical cooling and heating. Windows are strategically located to facilitate natural ventilation and to reduce the need for daytime artificial lighting. Passive solar heating techniques are used in conjunction with thermal mass storage and natural ventilation to reduce heating and cooling energy requirements, and by introducing a renewable energy strategy, to bring the net energy requirement for the house to near zero. To help maintain healthy indoor air quality, the house will utilize a ground-to-air heat exchange system as a means to provide a continuous supply of tempered fresh air through a heat-recovery ventilator.

Owner: Private
Area 1,300 sqft
Completion Under Construction
Project Architect Coolearth Architecture Inc.

Top of the Annex Town Homes


This 3.5 storey 3-unit townhouse urban infill development was 1 of 12 award winning zero-energy homes in the 1997 Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) EQuilibrium Sustainable Housing Demonstration Initiative. The infill development addresses the multi-faceted goals of sustainable design, not the least of which includes the goal of urban intensification, an important aspect of sustainable planning. The project comprising three townhouses of approximately 2,350 sf (220 sm) and 2-4 bedrooms, depending on the configuration. The homes are designed to produce as much energy annually as they consume and, connected to the electricity grid, draw power only as needed. They can also feed excess power back into the system. To achieve zero-net-energy self-sustaining homes, the units the will incorporate energy-efficient features such as airtight, highly insulated and energy efficient building envelopes with avanced windows and glazing, and will be fitted with Renewable Energy Systems including; solar domestic hot water and photovoltaic panels covering the roof of each unit; ground source heat pump; along with high efficiency heat recovery ventilators. Placing the main living spaces on the upper levels and providing an abundant source of natural lighting to those parts of the townhouse most occupied during the day will offset the lighting associated energy demand of the units.

Owner: Annex Energy Homes
Construction Budget $1,800,000
Area 7,200 sqft
Completion Pending City Approval
Project Architect Coolearth Architecture Inc. (formerly Ampas Architects)

Lakeland Long Term Care -Parry Sound Supportive Housing Feasibility Study


Lakeland Long Term Care received funding from the NE LHIN (North East Local Health Integration Network) to conduct a Supportive Housing Feasibility Study for Parry Sound and the surrounding area. The objective is to create an innovative and strategic community business plan for a senior’s facility including a residence, wellness centre and hospice facility that will address the immediate needs of the community while creating a long term vision for the future of health and wellness for seniors in Parry Sound area.

Owner: Lakeland Long Term Care
Location Parry Sound, Ontario
Completion September 2009

University of Toronto Gull Lake Camp


This project for the University of Toronto involved the creation of a great hall dining facility in the historic bunkhouse and a new 60-student dormitory. Coolearth designed the site masterplan and design to employ sustainable features such as solar power and the use of recycled building materials. In keeping with the client’s desire to preserve the historical atmosphere of the campus, the new dormitory emplyed materials and profiles inpsired by the 1920’s era camp buildings.

Owner: University of Toronto
Area 11,000 sqft
Completion 2012
Project Architect Coolearth Architecture Inc. (formerly Sharp Architects)

Solar Installation, Beaucrest Apartments


Beaucrest Seniors Apartment is owned by a non-profi t housing corporation, governed by a community board of directors, who wished to take advantage of a provincial program that paid for solar panel installations. Before installing solar panels, a roof membrane replacement and insulation upgrade was required. Coolearth Architecture Inc. was hired as project manager responsible for all funding applications including technical solar evaluations, hiring and coordinating engineering expertise, tendering and selecting both the roofing and solar contractors, certifying work and the project closeout.

Owner: Parry Sound Non-Profi t Housing Corporation
Construction Budget $340,000
Project Architect Coolearth Architecture Inc.

Shawanaga First Nation Community Library and Archive


The facility highlights water conservation and knowledge of traditional sacred and medicinal plants, as well as provide a facility for learning, homework clubs, pre-school reading circles, elder craft activities, community meetings, a lending library and access to the internet. It is designed as a near-net zero facility, pending installation of solar panels and features high solar gain, super insulation, low thermal bridging, water harvesting and on-site water treatment demonstration through high performance septic systems, which feed the traditional planting gardens.

Owner: Chelsea Sousa, Librarian. Shawanaga First Nation
Location Shawanaga First Nation (10 km North of Parry Sound Ontario)
Area 5,000 sqft
Completion Community Consultation
Project Architect Coolearth Architecture Inc. (formerly Sharp Architects)

James Street Hospital Conversion


In 2006, a new health care facility was completed in the Town of Parry Sound, and the 85,000 sqft James Street Hospital was sold to a developer. Coolearth was commissioned to adaptively reuse the building, converting the old hospital into 64 affordable housing units.

The building has a thermal solar system that meets 95% of the building’s hot water needs in summer and 43% in winter.

Owner: Northern Gate Developments
Construction Budget $3,100,000
Area 85,000 sqft
Completion 2006

Teach Me To Fly Daycare


The project involved the adaptive re-use of an existing commercial space, to provide a daycare facility for children and infants. To promote a healthy, engaging environment Coolearth worked with the abundance of natural daylighting, while also balancing the need to maximize the efficiency of the space, operations, and the unique constraints that working with infants and children present.

Owner: Teach Me To Fly Daycare
Location Scarborough, Ontario
Area 3,200 sqft
Completion November 2011
Project Architect Coolearth Architecture Inc.

Barrie and Minden Co-housing


Solterra contracted with Coolearth to prepare “Needs and Demand” studies and Business plans for two locations; Barrie and Minden Ontario, funded through CMHC’s Seed Funding.  Solterra Co-Housing Corporation develops and manages co-owned retirement homes for 4-6 owners. The model includes both private and common space with shared home-making assistance.

The projects are both current in negotiations with builders, and expect to start sales in the fall of 2013.

Owner: Solterra Co-Housing Ltd.
Construction Budget $<800,000
Completion Pending
Project Architect Coolearth Architecture Inc.

For more information on specific projects, or for more examples of our work please Email us or give us a call at 416-868-9774.

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