Construction is at an unstoppable stage in Toronto. Even through the pandemic, it's happening all over the city, working towards increasing density. But is it sustainable?
If increasing density is the goal, then sustainable construction and design are the need of the hour and here is how laneway houses are at the frontier of this action -
Increasing Density By "Reusing" Backyards
Laneway housing increases the density of the City of Toronto without taking up new space for housing by populating itself in low rise residential neighbourhoods. A backyard abutting a public laneway has the potential of becoming a laneway property, and with more people entering the country looking for an affordable and contemporary place to stay, laneway housing is a very sustainable way to house them, by re-using surplus space in backyards.
Building With Smarter Construction Methods and Concepts
Laneway houses are a new concept when compared to condominiums, where processes, materials and construction methods have been set in stone for many years, making any updates very expensive to execute. Being at the frontier of this new type of housing, new designers can really promote and encourage locally sourced materials, photovoltaic cells, rainwater harvesting and other sustainable methods from the very beginning. Smart construction also includes modular construction offsite in a controlled factory where economies of scale can be taken advantage of to reduce cost and material waste, as they can be standardized.
Smaller Construction, Less Products, Less Energy
Laneway housing can range anywhere from 200 sq.ft. to even 1500 sq.ft. In Toronto, laneway houses can have a maximum dimension of approximately 10m x 8m. This size of construction is relatively small as compared to the house at the front of the lot (where the average footprint is larger than the maximum footprint allowed of a laneway house) and definitely has a smaller footprint than high rise condos. Tiny construction means lesser materials used, lesser products needed and definitely less energy intensity.