The future of green living has been a much-talked-about topic in recent years as pressure and demand continues to increase for improvements in residential energy efficiencies and greener construction technologies. What might this future of green living look like for a future high-rise condo owner? Tridel, in collaboration with Cisco and Control4, has developed a state-of-the-art suite which features the latest in construction techniques, material finishes, and cutting-edge control technology as a demonstration to showcase what these wide ranging possibilities may mean for the future of condo living. The suite was also built to coincide with the US Green Building Council's Green Build Expo hosted in Toronto last week. It was the first time U.S. Green Building Council hosted their Expo outside the U.S., and was an opportunity to showcase and bring international attention to Toronto's high-rise residential market and technology.
It becomes immediately apparent when you walk through the front door that Rêve is a different kind of condo building. Greeting you at the front desk is none other than Tridel's virtual concierge, hooked up via a CCTV system. All you have to do is speak, and the concierge will interact with you as in any other normal scenario. The concierge is in fact located at the UCIT Online Security live monitoring centre in Mississauga, but don't let the distance lead you to believe that she can't be as helpful as an on-site person. She can do just about anything a live concierge can, including accepting your mail deliveries. Have a listen to this video as she describes some of what she can accomplish. [Note: turn up your volume as the first 25 seconds has some louder background noise]
The suite itself features new and exciting software technology, as well as strict attention to construction detail ensuring a well-managed unit from the point of view of energy consumption, heating, and air conditioning. Created by Cisco and Control4, the entire suite is networked with a series of Cisco's switches, routers and home controllers, and is combined with Control4 lighting solutions such as keypads and dimmers, as well as audio and video control products.
James Moffat of Cisco Systems demonstrates how to use the Smart Home touch screen panel, and how some of the applications built into the smart system can be remotely monitored and controlled via an iPad. The system is truly robust. Among its many tasks is the ability to monitor your power consumption from both the grid as well as the rooftop solar array, on a monthly, weekly, daily, or even an hourly basis. With technology like this, you can begin to make informed decisions about your energy consumption and billing patterns, and adjust your lifestyle to accordingly.
A user can also control just about any light source in the entire suite from any one of the control panels. In this case, I'm dimming the bedroom light to 80%, but you can adjust everything from the bathroom, kitchen, living, dining, and even the closet lighting from this panel. An even more important feature is the ability to define preset lighting schemes for particular occasions, or to turn everything on or off with the click of a button, convenient when you leave home and come back.
The same in-wall touch panel display can also be viewed on your living room TV, and controlled with the remote control. In this video, James demonstrates how you can individually control the Lutron automated blinds. These can also be preset to automatically lower when beginning to watch a movie or vice-versa when the movie ends.
An interesting touch of practical lighting are these three near-baseboard LED way-finding lights which can be controlled and dimmed to the right level, giving the space enough low-light to navigate around without the need to turn on all the lights.
Part of living a green lifestyle is ensuring that your suite is properly built and insulated to provide optimal control on the internal environment. In this image we see a cutaway of drywall showing the spray foam insulation between the unit and the exterior wall, helping to provide an air-tight seal between the suite and the outside environment.
Standing around the kitchen island, we had an opportunity to look at some of the materials used in the finishes. The kitchen countertops are provided by Cosentino, and are made from 75% recycled content. The faucets are low-flow at a rate of 1.8 gallons per minute, compared to 2.2 for today's standard. The floor is finished with Rose Wood sourced and purchased from suppliers committed to environmental responsibility.
To make the space feel cozy and more like home, they've added an in-wall clean burning ethanol fireplace.
We leave you with a few more images of the suite itself, courtesy of Tridel.
Interested in seeing the suite for yourself? Tridel will be hosting an Open Doors Tour this weekend, October 15th and 16th. For more information, visit the Eco Suite website.
What do you think of Rêve? Get involved in the conversation on UrbanToronto's Forum. You'll find links to all the relate UrbanToronto pages below, including the dataBase page for Rêve.