Impressively standing out in a crowd of over 400 green exhibitors, canühome was definitely one of the visual and conceptual highlights for me at the Green Living Show in Toronto. Designed by a progressive Toronto think tank called the Institute without Boundaries, canühome is essentially a kit-based system that lets you affordably create a sustainable, universally designed, smart and healthy home for yourself.
In 2006, the folks at IwB adapted housing designs that had been created by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation for non-profit and affordable housing groups. The partnership between the two continued as IwB incorporated CMHC's research into their World House Project in Costa Rica. Before long, the IwB brought together an eco-passionate team to create canühome, which they describe as an “exemplary home environment that re-imagines how we may live in the future.”
canühome is constructed using Forest Stewardship Council [FSC] certified wood products and meets LEED standards. The 850 square foot home contains a kitchen, bathroom, living room, dining room and bedroom and is intended for young couples, seniors, singles and/or small families as either a “starter” or “finisher” house. It has cleverly been designed to fit into the rear gardens of homes in the city or suburbs, on the rooftops of buildings or even out in the countryside, where amenities may not be readily available. Looking for something larger? canühome is modular, so you can add a whole other unit to one end of it to double its length [see pix below].
I really enjoyed walking through this popular exhibit and taking in all of the intelligent design choices and features. I was quite impressed to see that their responsible design had included an uninterrupted floorplan, thus providing universal access. Also included were transformable furnishings that could adapt to meet the changing needs of the home’s occupants over time. In addition to the FSC-certified wood used throughout, canühome’s creators utilized non-toxic materials to promote good health.
The use of solar, wind and vibration energy collection elevates canühome’s eco.status even more by further reducing its environmental impact. To top it all off, they’ve equipped this eye-catching space with “an intelligent network of sensors, tuned to give the homeowner a better understanding of the relationship between their lifestyle and their carbon imprint.” So it educates you while you live in it? Is there anything this smart home can’t do?
I was seriously impressed. The temporary tattoos they were giving out with green symbols that read “Using Less, Enjoying More” were a fun touch, too.
If you missed canühome at The Green Living Show, you can catch this cool mobile exhibit in Toronto again at Yorkdale in June and at IIDEX/NeoCon Canada in September. If you’re a floorplan junkie, you’ll love the detailed tech drawings of the space here here. A full colour brochure can be accessed here. Toronto Architect Lloyd Alter was also at the show and reviewed canühome in his Treehugger article, with a focus on the engineering and CNC technology used to build the structure.
An exterior view of the canühome exhibit at the Direct Energy Centre in Toronto, where The Green Living Show took place.
An interior view, while standing in the living room and looking towards the kitchen, bathroom and the bedroom at the other far end.
An interior view of the kitchen and dining area, a workspace on the left and the living room with eco.friendly fireplace at the far end.
A view of the entrance, complete with miniature garden.
A view into the kitchen and dining area from the entrance. The rounded wall on the right conceals the shower/bathroom and laundry room areas.
A close up of the sleek and modern kitchen, featuring FSC-certified wood, energy-saving appliances and eco.friendly countertops.
I love the fact that IwB designed a universally accessible kitchen, which included moveable cabinets and adjustable countertops and trolleys for recycling and cutting. The accessible appliances were also equipped with wide grip handles and lever taps.
Premisys provided the kitchen and cabinets, which were made using locally harvested FSC-certified Maple plywood and urea-formaldehyde free, low VOC finishes.
The eye-catching countertops were CaesarStone by Ciot, a product that is made from 93% crushed quartz and is non-toxic and hygienic, meeting Environmental Standard Certification.
The refrigerator and wall oven with convection microwave combo were Energy Star qualified and were provided by Bosch. The smart kitchen boasted an induction cooktop, which saves 30% energy and heats up two times faster than conventional ceramic cooktops. They also included an energy saving dishwasher and a built-in gourmet coffee machine which blended in seamlessly into the cabinetry. All of these appliances were by Bosch.
Of course, a green kitchen wouldn’t be complete without low flow taps [7.6 L/min]. Cabano Bath provided these for both the kitchen and bathroom [including a low flow shower].
The final touches were the accessories and eco.friendly bamboo cutlery and cutting board, which are all available at The Bay's Home Outfitters.
Another kitchen view.
A side profile view of the bedroom, with the circular shower/bathroom stand in the background.
I love this image, partly because I have a thing for water tanks… but mostly because I love the idea of utilizing wasted space on rooftops in an eco.friendly way.
An image depicting what various canühomes would look like, set up and illuminated in the suburbs.
A drawing illustrating canühome’s modular capabilities. Here we see two 850 square units attached to each other, maintaining one uninterrupted floorplan.
[photos from canühome web-site]