Now House launches near zero retrofit

Ribbon cutting of the Now House project.

About one hundred residents from Topham Park, Toronto gathered on Saturday, October 20th to participate in the official ribbon cutting for the Now House project. Now House will retrofit a post WWII home in their neighbourhood to achieve near zero energy, one that produces almost as much energy as it produces.

“Thanks for choosing our community for this exciting initiative,” said Melanie, a resident of Topham Park.

“If lots of people do this, it will have an impact on the planet,” said Heather another resident of Topham Park.

The Now House team (orange scarves) along with representatives from Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) and platinum sponsor RBC Royal Bank, cut the ribbon to officially launch the start of renovations.

“Now House is proud to be one of the winners of CMHC’s EQuilibrium sustainable housing initiative,” said Lorraine Gauthier, Now House team leader. “Our goal is to show homeowners and contractors how to dramatically improve the energy efficiency of existing homes with a few relatively simple modifications.”

“CMHC’s EQuilibrium housing initiative demonstrates a new approach to housing in Canada,” said Jamie Shipley, Senior Research Consultant, CMHC. “ It brings together the principles of occupant health and comfort, energy efficiency, renewable energy production, resource and water conservation, and reduced environmental impact under one roof.”

“The residential sector accounts for a high percentage of energy use and green house gas emissions in Canada and worldwide,” said Nelson Switzer, Senior Manager, Corporate Environmental Affairs, RBC Royal Bank. “We support Now House because it will demonstrate how to change existing homes to reduce their impact on the environment.”

Now House™ receives financial and marketing support from CMHC. Platinum sponsorship is provided by RBC Royal Bank. Renovations will start immediately and tours of the completed near zero energy home will begin in the New Year.

People gathered for presentations

Kids playing with earth balls


Comment from Jim Chapryk
Time: October 29, 2007, 10:42 am

Hi Lorraine,

Congratulations on your accomplishments. The Now Home is a great concept. I have a much older home than the ones you did your retrofit on. Can the design work that you undertook be replicated on other styles of homes. Mine is a 1906 brick and stone home?
If you get a chance, please drop me a line.

Cheers, Jim

Comment from Derry Robertson
Time: November 4, 2007, 10:27 am

Congratulations on an approach that makes great sense and can be achieved economically. The ex married quarters within the old military base at Picton has been turned over to a private group and they are currently marketting freehold units at very low cost. While the prices are attractive I believe that the rnovations are fairly surface and minimal - This could be an opportunity for your approach.

Good luck


Comment from Robert Smith
Time: November 5, 2007, 10:59 pm

We just bought post war time house at the other side of St Clair E closed to Topham Park. We are currently shopping for a new boiler(gas powered) which is 50 years old. Would there be a similar program in our area? We will be interested to explore the idea of near zero retrofit.

Comment from Patricia Ellsworth
Time: November 23, 2007, 3:18 pm

I am super excited for this project. I have owned a war time house in Saint John NB for the past 3 years. I attempted upgrades to my home as a DIY project to improve my energy effeciency but was quite unsuccessful. I live in a neighbourhood of approximatly 100 similar homes that could all use some assistance with upgrades. I look forward to updates on your progress.

I would suggest some extra publicity, as I just happened to stumble across this by accident this afternoon.

Best of luck

Comment from Josh LeMar
Time: December 4, 2007, 6:09 pm

Congrats on your new achievement! Funny how it all starts! Keep me posted on new projects because I would always love to see how you are doing! Gonna be L.E.E.D. certified by years end!

Keep the sustainable design coming.

Comment from carmen
Time: January 15, 2008, 1:49 pm

Any news? Love to see some pictures, drawings etc…not only do I live in a war-time house that I plan to renovate but I work at an air purification company and am keenly interested in all environmentally friendly projects…

Comment from J. Whittingham
Time: February 21, 2008, 6:40 pm

I live in a Wartime house in Regina, Saskatchewan. My wife and I are dying to see what happens with this project. We want to be first in line to turn our house into a near-zero home.

Comment from A.C.
Time: February 22, 2008, 3:44 pm

Ditto on yesterday’s comment above, only we’re in Burlington, Ontario. What a FABULOUS idea, we’re so happy to see this sort of effort. Why knock these old homes down when you can retrofit? Thanks!

Comment from Fred Forlin
Time: March 13, 2008, 2:35 am

The city is giving me $20,000 to renovate.I like the concept of your project.I will give you this amount,if you convert my home.TY

Comment from Helen Ambrose
Time: March 27, 2008, 7:04 pm

please post the date and address of your open house. I am keenly interested in the environmentally friendly approach you have taken.