Gemini House Tour and Volunteering at Waterfront Neighbourhood Centre (WNC)

Hello readers!

CECA is working hard at analyzing data from the energy audit. In the meantime, we have also dedicated a large amount of time to spread awareness on the importance of sustainable buildings.


We, at CECA UofT, wanted to spread awareness of innovation in sustainable building design by considering projects completed on campus! One such amazing project is Gemini House ! This complex project included the retrofit of a 1880s masonry home and explored numerous methods of low-energy housing. The main approach, deemed GEMINI NTED™, was to thermally isolate the building into two zones and controlling the heating/cooling requirements separately within the zones. This project was an initiative of Ryerson University along with University of Toronto (led by Professor Kim Pressnail).

What better way to educate interested students about innovation in sustainable building design than arranging for the lead professor who worked on the project to give a tour?With this plan in mind, CECA worked with the professor to finalize the event and even on a rainy day, we had about 20 student attendees eager and excited to learn about this project. Thank you to all those who attended!

Glimpses of the Gemini House Tour event led by Professor Kim Pressnail


As evident from the energy audit, we are very excited to be working with WNC for the Green Energy Challenge. During our visit, we learned a lot about the services they provide for the community and we wanted to be active in giving back and volunteering our time to engage with the community members.

With this in mind, we corresponded with community development leaders at WNC to host an interactive workshop on the importance of energy conservation! Our audience? Children aged 6-12 years in WNC’s “After 4” after-school program because we believe that the earlier we educate people about energy and environmental conservation, the better!

CECA members leading a workshop with children in WNC’s After-4 after school program
CECA leaders planned 3 rotations of workshops for the participants:

First (pictured on top and bottom left), the children made use of flowcharts and images to demonstrate an overall understanding of climate change. They also engaged in a story-telling format about the “life of carbon” to learn about where carbon emissions come from and where they end up.

Second (pictured bottom right), was an interactive demonstration of lighting efficiency. We brought 3 lamps: incandescent, fluorescent and LED along with an infrared thermometer. We asked the kids to predict the most efficient lighting system and used the thermometer to record temperatures of the bulbs when they were on. This was a lot of fun for the children as they had to think critically to understand the correlation between heat loss and lighting. Rest assured, “LED” was a new concept and we were glad they were able to see its efficiency comparative to incandescent and florescent lights!

Designing and crafting for the “Green House Challenge”!
Lastly, after getting an overall background on climate change and about lighting, we challenged the children to design their own “Green House” (pictured above). We showed them examples of elements that can make homes better including incorporating: LED lights, solar panels, composting, wind turbine, green roofs and more! As pictured above, the children (and also some of our CECA members) had a fun time using colours and being creative to make their own dream “Green House”.


The After 4 Program was not the end of CECA’s efforts to educating the community. In addition to our last visit, CECA members visited WNC for a third time on April 21st for an Earth Day event workshop in collaboration with WNC’s Senior’s Community & Development team. WNC representatives made us aware of the fact that there was a large population in their seniors community that were paying hefty energy and hydro bills. This was due to lack of information available to them and due to their lack of knowledge about ways to cut back and save energy as well as the costs. In an effort to close this gap, CECA members led a presentation, showing the attendees about how to read the bills and simple steps they can take to cut back on costs and conserve energy simultaneously.

CECA members, Greg Peniuk and Mackenzie De Carle, in conversation with WNC’s senior community about energy consumption and ways to lower energy bills.



Overall, we, at CECA, have really enjoyed getting to spread our knowledge on sustainable buildings and energy conservation with community. From student awareness through the Gemini House tour to getting engaged with the community at WNC, educating the public on the importance of sustainability and innovative steps taken in that direction has been a valuable experience for us. Giving back to the community by sharing our passion for sustainability has been a highlight and we want to thank all those who have helped guide us towards this direction!


Energy Audit 2017: Waterfront Neighbourhood Centre!

We, at CECA UofT Chapter, have been making some strides with this year’s Green Energy Challenge Competition 2017 so we wanted to update you. This year, we have chosen to work with the Waterfront Neighbourhood Centre (WNC) and they graciously hosted our team to collect data on their site for the energy audit.

What’s an “Energy Audit”?

An Energy Audit is an important information tool to understand how energy is being used to operate a building. For the purposes of our audit this year, we took a tour of the WNC building and and gathered data on energy use due to: lighting (luminescence measure), plug loads (use of electrical appliances), and HVAC systems (heating and cooling systems). Other observations included looking at building envelopes and checking for places in need of improvements/retrofits within existing building structure (eg adding solar panels or natural lighting).

Scroll below for some pictures of our shenanigans as we took a tour of WNC for the energy audit last week!


First off, the team met some representatives at WNC who gave us a general tour of the centre. We got to check out various rooms hosting workshops for community members, the gym and the roof!


After the tour, the team divided into groups to get information on lighting and the mechanical system (HVAC).


Several key measures were taken into consideration for lighting. This included noting the type of lights, measuring distances from lighting system relative to the room and also checking the luminescence quality with lights on and off using a smartphone app. In addition, the lighting team observed plug loads by considering different electronic devices that were being used in rooms.



The solar/HVAC team got access to the building’s mechanical room to understand and gather information on the types of air conditioners and boilers being used to provide heating and cooling. Moreover, a big part of the challenge is considering solar and other renewable sources! For this reason, the roof was also visited to assess if panels could be an option for WNC.


As you can make out, the team did a lot of work by recording and taking meticulous measurements for the audit. However, we also had some fun!


Pictured is one of our members geared with: an infrared thermometer, an infrared camera and an ONSET temperature/RH data logger. It’s great at sensing and logging data on heat but also great for selfies!

That is the end of our audit update! Be sure to follow this blog for more updates on how the data collected is going to be used to suggest recommendations for WNC as we progress with “Green Energy Challenge 2017”.