Designers will compete to build enviro-friendly home: green design will be archetype for sustainable subdivisions throughout the GTA

Architects, engineers and designers across Canada are about to be challenged to design the ultimate environmentally friendly and affordable home. Later this month, Toronto and Region Conservation (TRCA) in partnership with the Design Exchange, will launch their first ever Sustainable Housing Competition. The winning home will be a model for new sustainable subdivisions to be developed in Vaughan, Newmarket and Pickering.

"This sustainable home archetype will set an environmental precedent in the GTA and beyond. It will show people how the small-scale decisions we make in our own homes, like what kind of furnace we buy, can contribute to large-scale environmental consequences like climate change," said Andrew Bowerbank, Supervisor of Sustainable Development for TRCA. Examples of sustainable design choices include house features such as solar hot water tanks, energy efficient appliances, asthma friendly paints, certified wood and native landscaping.

Once constructed, purchasers will be able to walk through the model to learn about and choose sustainable features for their new home. To help them decide, information quantifying the environmental and financial benefits of each feature will be made available. They will be able to see things like how investing in triple-glazed windows will save them money on hydro bills. "We hope that people and builders will see just how many green home-building options there are, and that sustainability will not only make our environment cleaner, it will also make people healthier and our economy stronger" said Bowerbank.

The specific criteria for the competition will be determined at the end of this month following a workshop on August 25th that invites industry and community leaders to express their opinions and provide input. For the home to be "sustainable," it must use renewable resources, seek to minimize or eliminate negative environmental impacts, and increase people’s quality of life. Design proposals will be due in March of 2006, and will be on exhibition at the Design Exchange until a winner is selected June 15th, 2006.

Toronto and Region Conservation’s vision is for The Living City, a new kind of community where human settlement can flourish forever as part of nature’s beauty and diversity. For information about The Living City, call (416) 661-6600 or visit