Brand new website coming soon. Learn MoreClose

Urban Ecology

Urban Ecology is a new, two storey semi-detached duplex with basement located on an infill site in a rejuvenated downtown area of Winnipeg, Manitoba.


The northwest unit of the duplex is the EQuilibrium™ demonstration home; the southeast unit has been registered under Natural Resources Canada’s R-2000 Program and will undergo all necessary inspections required for certification. Both sides of the duplex are approximately 119.5 m2 (1,287 sq. ft.). Both main floors each have an accessible, open-concept design with living room, galley kitchen, dining room and two piece barrier-free bathroom. The second floors include a master bedroom, two small bedrooms, and a three-piece bathroom. The basements will be unfinished.

In addition to the passive solar space heating utilized by both units of the duplex, the EQuilibrium™ demonstration home has a 4 panel flat plate thermal solar collector system which provides hot water for in-floor hydronic space heating in the basement. If required, the water temperature can be boosted with an in-line electric heater. The solar collector system also provides the domestic hot water which is supplemented by a stand-alone heat pump that transfers heat from air in the basement to the water in the hot water tanks as required. An electric heater provides back-up. A drainwater heat recovery system has been installed and is predicted to decrease the domestic hot water heating requirements in this unit by 20%. The electricity generated by the photovoltaic (PV) system on the EQuilibrium™ side will be sold to Manitoba Hydro to decrease the homeowner’s utility bills.

Water conserving fixtures and rainwater harvesting from roof runoff for landscape irrigation help reduce potable water use. The site design incorporates native plant species and rain gardens to reduce irrigation needs. The site also has limited impervious surfaces which contributes to directing precipitation (including storm events) into the ground rather than into the municipal storm sewer, as does the collection of roof runoff for use during dry periods.

Key Design Features:

  • Passive solar heating and flat plate solar collector system contributes to space and domestic hot water heat
  • Grid connected photovoltaic system
  • Energy-efficient building envelope
  • Drainwater heat recovery system to reduce domestic hot water energy requirements
  • Targeted toward low to moderate income families




Print(opens in a new window)