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When seeking a place to call home in the Toronto area, architect couple Christine Lolley and Tom Knezic had two prerequisites: That the home be in
close proximity to their architecture firm’s office and that the
home was as energy-efficient as possible. Their firm, Solares
Architecture, specializes in luxurious and energy-efficient
residential restorations and Lolley and Knezic’s intention was
that their home be the epitome of these practices at work.
More specifically, their personal mission entailed turning an
inefficient home into a high-performance building the couple
and their two children could live in by way of their own
restoration methods–talk about practicing what you preach.
After a meticulous search, they found the perfect home for
her project: A two-story, 1,725 square-foot brick masonry
construction tucked away in the heart of downtown Toronto.
It was only a short walk from the office but a far distance in
terms of livability, requiring a long makeover process. Upon
acquiring the home, Lolley and Knezic had a certified auditor
conduct an energy audit performed on her home that revealed
an EnerGuide rating of 38 out of 100. This low-energy rating
denoted the home’s dire need for a deep energy retrofit.
One of the first things that the pair noticed was that the home
had no insulation. In line with her energy-efficient designs,
they wanted to make their home airtight, as well as downsize
the energy used by the home’s HVAC system. To attain both
of these things, optimal insulation can be a crucial catalyst.
Being a firm believer in the cutting-edge insulating properties
of spray polyurethane foam (SPF), the couple decided this was
the best type of insulation to use during the home’s retrofit
and brought in Callrich Eco Services (CES) to apply SPF to
“We use spray polyurethane foam in our load-bearing brick
home renovations, so I thought ‘why should mine have been
any different’?” says Lolley. “Spray foam creates an airtight
seal around the home and it has the highest R-value per inch.
It is not susceptible to moisture and it bends and conforms
to whatever type of brick wall you install it to, as opposed to
fiberglass insulation, which can turn into moldy mush if you
tried to put it on a brick wall.”
By the time the CES crew got on site, the interior of the home
was stripped down to its masonry brick walls, and only the
roof and floor joists remained. To mitigate thermal bridging,
two-by-four wall studs were built an inch away from the brick
walls. Additionally, a subcontractor had installed six inches of
polyisocyanurate insulation board over the home’s roof deck to
provide outbound insulation. The SPF application took place
during the harsh Canadian winter, so it wasn’t an easy, in-and-out application for CES’ Rich Krechowicz and his partner,
who faced some significant challenges along the way. In fact, it
took the two-man crew four days to complete the application,