A house is not just a ...


A house is not just a home. If designed intelligently and strategically, a house can become an enabling platform that supports, at the very least, a household’s needs for shelter, local mobility and food. In other words, if designed intelligently, a house can enable the provision of several household needs with nothing more than on-site, renewable resources. It can, therefore, become a tool that reduces a household’s vulnerabilities by reducing its dependence on global supply systems of which a household has little understanding and upon which it has absolutely no control.

In the same way as a house needn’t be just a home, a neighbourhood needn’t be just a cluster of dumb houses. If designed intelligently, a neighbourhood can become an even more powerful platform capable of supporting many of a community’s needs. Indeed, expanding the boundaries of the problem to include an entire neighbourhood, instead of just a single house, generates many more design possibilities and improves the economics of the available design solutions.

Passive solar design is foundational to achieving the above, whether at the scale of a single house or an entire neighbourhood. Montréal ZERO’s projects integrate passive solar and attempt to fully exploit its benefits during both the heating as well as cooling cycles of a building.

Whether your ambition is simply for a passive solar house or a net zero energy house or a fully net zero energy or autonomous lifestyle, Montréal ZERO can help.


Housing and Neighbourhoods

Design Review

If you’ve already started designing your own house and would simply like design feedback, Montréal ZERO can conduct a thorough design review of your project to help avoid missed opportunities and help optimize your design solution.

Professionals can be disabling and there is nothing wrong in designing your own house without the involvement of any professional. Your house, however, will endure well over a century and it would be unfortunate to miss design opportunities with consequences lasting the entire service life of the building.

For a design review, send us your sketches or CAD drawings (with North arrow) along with site photos and we will send you a fee proposal for a thorough and constructive critique of your design conducted by professional architects.

Energy Modelling

We do building energy modelling simulations using a variety of software packages including Design Builder, HOT 2000 and COMSOL.  If you would like to gain a better understanding of the energy use of your proposed project, send us a complete information package describing the project and we will send you a fee proposal for its energy modelling simulation.

Full Scope of Architectural Services

Whether your project involves new construction or renovation, Montréal ZERO can provide a full scope of architectural services. The full scope of architectural services includes:

    • Assistance with programming and budgeting your project;
    • Preparation of a preliminary design package.  The preliminary design process begins with an analysis of the regulatory, climatic and site constraints or opportunities governing your site.  Furthermore, the preliminary design process involves frequent design feedback from the client.  The outcome of this this process is never a surprise to the client since, after all, it is the result of a period of design exploration within which the client is fully involved;
    • Preparation of construction drawings.  Once the preliminary design package is approved, we proceed into preparing the detailed construction drawings for the project.  These drawings are necessary for obtaining a construction permit, getting quotes from contractors and ultimately, building the project.  Early into the construction drawings phase, we would conduct energy modelling simulations to better understand and optimize the building design.  We would also, depending on the project requirements, involve the necessary engineering consultants;

If you are interested in our full scope of architectural services, the best thing to do would be to talk.  Please give us a call or send us an email.  Once we have a good understanding of things, we will send you a fee proposal for the scope of the work that you desire.

Food and Water

Permaculture and Greenhouses

It’s not hard to design a four-season greenhouse for a temperate climate.  Moreover, it’s not hard to design a three-season greenhouse for a harsh, northern climate.  It becomes, however, an interesting challenge to design a four-season greenhouse for a harsh climate in such a way that the greenhouse does not require external energy inputs in order to be productive all year round.

A net zero energy or autonomous greenhouse can be coupled with an approach to a building’s exterior landscaping whereby the whole ensemble contributes to creating either a home-scale or a neighbourhood-scale agricultural system. This design approach would reduce a household’s or a community’s dependence on an extremely unsustainable and fragile industrial food system.

If you’re interested in integrating a comprehensive, home-scale or neighbourhood-scale agricultural system within your project, we can help.

Greywater and Rainwater

At some point, we will likely be forced to become less wasteful with water.  Some parts of the world have already arrived at this point.

It makes great sense to integrate water conservation measures into our homes and buildings and to do more with rainwater and grey water in order to reduce our use of potable water.  If you’re interested in integrating water conservation and reuse measures, we can help.

Crowd Funding (Aspirational)

Crowd Funding

We are working towards developing an understanding and an expertise in crowd funding in order to offer this additional service to our clients.  By developing an expertise in crowd funding, we aspire to help displace the banking sector from and render it irrelevant to the financing of projects.