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Welcome to Montréal ZERO

Montreal ZERO is a multi-disciplinary design firm specializing in net zero energy as well as autonomous or self-sufficient buildings and neighbourhoods. We seamlessly bring together architecture, engineering, planning, research as well as imagination, within the dynamism of a small firm, to design buildings and neighbourhoods that enable living arrangements characterized by vitality, resilience and freedom.

A conventional approach only produces conventional results. Montréal ZERO’s approach is holistic, integrative, inquisitive and, simply, unconventional. We have little use for the conventional wisdom of a decaying paradigm that grants acceptability to the current conceptions of house, neighbourhood and living arrangement. Moreover, we have little use for the artificial boundaries between disciplines that cripple the typical thinking process to produce utterly conventional results.

Whether your project involves renovation or new construction, if you just want to reduce your energy and water bills or you want to go fully self-sufficient — either because your site is in a remote location or because you want to disconnect from civilization — we have the design expertise to help.

Autonomous / Off-Grid Greenhouse

Year-round, off-grid, greenhouse and barn with building-integrated photovoltaic and thermal (BIPV-T) energy system. This off-grid greenhouse will contribute towards the food self-sufficiency of a future, off-grid community.

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Our Design Approach

We draw a great deal of design inspiration from the bioclimatic genius of vernacular architecture. Vernacular architecture is the architecture of common people, building their own homes and village, without architects, using local materials and skills in order to suit their own needs and climate. Vernacular architecture is the architecture typified by the extremely intelligent use of passive design methods for heating, cooling, harvesting rainwater, and storing food. It is the architecture lost in the distant past because it predates the dumbing effect of today’s infrastructure and globalized supply chains.

We stand to gain a great deal by rediscovering the hidden gems within vernacular architecture and overlaying them with a thin layer of appropriate technologies.

Our design approach is aggressively passive. In other words, we use passive design methods as much as possible to heat and cool our buildings, to harvest precipitation and to produce and store food. There is, after all, nothing more elegant than achieving a desired end as effortlessly and frugally as possible, without fans, pumps or other devices. Once we have exhausted passive methods, then we resort to using appropriate technologies to achieve the most robust, long-lasting and dependable solution. We place a great deal of value on technology.  However, with respect to technology, we believe that less is, indeed, more.

Our Skills

Computer Modelling

Sophisticated computer modelling to predict energy and water requirements

Architectural Design

Architectural design with seamless integration of passive solar design techniques

Mechanical Systems Design

Design and integration of creative and highly cost-effective mechanical systems

BIPV, BIPV-T and Small Wind for Electrical Generation

Design of building integrated photovoltaic (BIPV), building integrated photovoltaic-thermal (BIPV-T) hybrid systems as well as small wind for onsite electrical generation and storage for grid-tied or off-grid applications

Solar Thermal

Design and building integration of solar thermal systems for domestic hot water and / or space heating

Precipitation Harvesting

Building integrated precipitation harvesting for summer and winter water gain, water storage as well as potable water production

EV Charging With Rooftop PV

EV charging with building integrated, rooftop photovoltaics for clean local transportation or for clean use of electric powered farm equipment

Building Automation and Control Systems

Customized building supervisory control and data collection systems, programmable logic controller (PLC) programming, human machine interface (HMI) development and design and manufacture of control panels to house the components that make up these systems.

Thermal Chimney on Net Zero Energy House

The thermal chimney on this net zero energy house serves to purge heat from the house, during summer, through natural convection and the negative air pressure created by prevailing winds on the leeward, i.e. window, side of the chimney .

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Partner Organizations

Montréal ZERO is a proud founding member of these organizations:

Stornoway Research Centre

Stornoway Research Centre is a research hub focusing on autonomous buildings and neighbourhoods.

Liberation Architecture

Liberation Architecture is an online educational resource dedicated to enabling families and communities achieve autonomy in terms of energy, water and food — the essentials for life.