New U of T Scarborough residence largest Passive House building in Canada

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Ontario Construction News staff writer

A new student residence at the University of Toronto’s Scarborough Campus has achieved Passive House Classic certification, Fengate Asset Management announced.

At 24,620 square metres, Harmony Commons, a purpose-built campus student residence with 746 beds, is now the largest Passive House building in Canada.

“Student housing plays a crucial role in bringing individuals from various backgrounds together, enriching their educational experience and preparing them for a globalized world,” said Joseph Mancinelli, International vice president and regional manager for Central and Eastern Canada, LiUNA. “LiUNA is proud to invest in Harmony Commons, the largest Passive House certified building in Canada that delivers sustainable student housing options that match the world-class educational offering of the University.”

Passive House is regarded as the industry’s leading voluntary standard for energy-focused design and construction, it stands as the pinnacle of commitment to sustainable building practices. In U of T Scarborough’s Harmony Commons Student Residence, this standard is exhibited in the combination of highly efficient insulation, airtight construction, and carefully designed windows and ventilation systems. In addition to the reduced carbon emissions of building to the Passive House standard, savings in operational costs offset the additional expenses associated with construction.

“Achieving Passive House certification for Harmony Commons is the embodiment of LiUNA and Fengate’s values of sustainability and community. This achievement is just one of the substantive steps Fengate has taken in putting our commitment towards Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) into action. By placing an emphasis on energy efficiency and longevity, we pave the way for future generations to thrive in environmentally responsible spaces,” said Jaime McKenna, president, Fengate Real Estate.

The nine-storey Harmony Commons Student Residence welcomed its first students in September 2023 and offers residents a multitude of on-site amenities including an integrated dining hall, common lounge and study space on each floor, outdoor roof garden and terrace, community kitchen, laundry facilities, indoor bicycle storage, and more.

“Harmony Commons is more than an infrastructure project—the impact goes beyond our campus. We’ve showed the industry that this type of project can be done in this market and at this scale. Through Harmony Commons we’ve proven that passive house is an attainable standard for future large-scale developments,” said Andrew Arifuzzaman, chief administrative officer, University of Toronto Scarborough.

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