ERA Architects

Gemini House in the Globe

In a recent article in the Globe & Mail, Dave LeBlanc explains how Gemini House provides a new, sustainable model for heritage homes.

The Gemini NTED approach, developed by U of T’s Kim Pressnail and Ryerson’s Russell Richman, is a new way to engineer low-energy housing. The idea is to put a box within a box, separating the home into a thermally isolated “core” and “periphery.”

The core is used and heated daily, the periphery only occasionally. The periphery also insulates the core and recaptures lost heat. Accompanied by a host of other energy efficient technologies and systems, this approach can reduce a home’s energy consumption by 60% or more.

Implemented at 31 Sussex, an 1880s masonry home, the Gemini House pilot project challenges a common misconception that heritage architecture and sustainable design don’t mix.

Approaches like this allow us to preserve the cultural value of our built environment, conserve resources by reusing what we already have, and employ cutting-edge technology to live more sustainably. Similar strategies can be employed in our large inventory of masonry Victorian houses, and our massive stock of late modernist apartment high-rises.

ERA is architect of record on Gemini House, and looks forward to future collaborations of this kind.

Read Dave LeBlanc’s article, “This home has 19th-Century bones and 21st-Century guts.”