Canadian Consulting Engineer

U of T Scarborough’s Passive House student residence nears completion

May 26, 2023

It is expected to house first-year students this September.

University of Toronto Scarborough Campus Student Residence

Photo courtesy Pomerleau.

Pomerleau’s work on the University of Toronto Scarborough’s (UTSC’s) new campus residence building—built to the Passive House standard for energy efficiency—is nearing completion, so as to welcome its first cohort of students in September.

The 24,620-m2 building will double the UTSC campus’ residence capacity by adding 746 beds in single, double and accessible suites. It is designed to accommodate first-year students and includes a cafeteria, common area for learning workshops, two suites for visiting scholars, a dining room, administrative offices and mixed-used spaces. A rooftop garden and terrace are planned for future development.

Construction started in July 2020 after Pomerleau was awarded a ‘design-bridge-build’ contract. The residence will reportedly be 40% to 60% more energy-efficient than conventional buildings, due to its insulation, windows and building systems.

“The mechanical system is designed to recuperate heat and energy,” explains Pomerleau project director Michael Faustini. “A pit in the basement captures all the hot water from showers and uses it as a heat source. The heat from the commercial kitchen in the cafeteria is also captured and reused. The construction of the building envelope had to be so perfect and detail-oriented, an on-site mock-up was built to ensure the process was clear to all parties prior to final installation.”


“The Passive House standard represents an optimal way to build healthy, climate-resilient, affordable and energy-efficient buildings through all stages of design, construction and livability,” says UTSC chief administrative officer (CAO) Andrew Arifuzzaman.


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