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Geneva Park Sustainable Cabin

Endeavour’s Sustainable New Construction program for 2019 is working with Geneva Park, a YMCA camp, to help them create Canada’s greenest cottage community. The camp’s plan is to replace the dozens of old cottages on the site with new cabins that meet the highest goals of sustainability. In 2019, we are building the duplex Geneva Park Sustainable Cabin as an example of how the whole community will transform in the coming years.

As with all Endeavour projects, the design process starts with establishing the sustainable criteria from which we can start to choose appropriate materials and systems. For the Geneva Park cabin, the criteria matrix looks like this:


The building is intended to hit very high goals for occupant health and minimal ecosystem and climate impact. For this project, we selected a material palette that chooses the best of conventional materials, including wood framing and dense-packed cellulose insulation, local wood and shingle siding and mixes in some more alternative choices like hempcrete and hemp batt insulation and lime plaster and tadelakt finishes.

Geneva Park Sustainable Cabin

Elevation drawings for Geneva Park Sustainable Cabin

As with all Endeavour projects, things start with a crew of dedicated students arriving from all across Canada and around the world, ready to learn about sustainable building and put their hearts and minds into creating a beautiful, healthy and efficient building. This team joins us for 16 weeks, during which they participate in all aspects of the project construction. They also do classroom work to develop their building science knowledge and sustainable design skills.

sustainable new construction class

Class of 2019, and their hempcrete wall

The student team is led by Endeavour’s instructors. This year, three great instructors spend their days working with the class to ensure that the building meets all of its design goals, as well as the timeline and budget. It’s no small task, and Endeavour is lucky to have such great instructors.


Follow our posts for this project as we explore elements like:

  • Helical pier foundation
  • Formaldehyde free floor deck
  • Super insulated walls with cellulose and wood fiber insulation
  • Innovative air-tight ductwork recesses
  • Hempcrete and hemp batt insulation
  • Air source heat pump and energy recovery ventilators (ERV)
  • Natural plaster and tadelakt plaster
  • Non-toxic paints and finishes
  • And more…

Carbon drawdown now!

Carbon drawdown now!

Endeavour’s Chris Magwood began researching the embodied carbon of building materials while working on the book Making Better Buildings in 2013. It has become something of an obsession ever since! Making Better Buildings book

Chris is about to publish his Master’s thesis, Opportunities for Carbon Dioxide Removal and Storage in Building Materials in August. But he has been presenting the results of that study all over North America for the past six months, and a number of those presentations have been captured on video. In addition, he’s been on several podcasts discussing the topic.

If you’re interested in learning how buildings can become the planet’s sixth major carbon sink, you can find the presentation videos and podcast links below:

NESEA keynote address: Carbon Drawdown Now!. This talk is given with colleagues Ace McArleton and Jacob Deva Racusin of New Frameworks. It was an honour to be given the opportunity to present the keynote to this community of dedicated energy efficiency practitioners. We were excited to put a positive, actionable spin on the topic of tackling climate change.

Boots on the Ground is an excellent speakers series hosted by Passive Buildings Canada, and it was great to bring the preliminary results of the embodied carbon study to this group.

Reversing Climate Change podcast. This excellent podcast from the team at Nori is an in-depth look at carbon storage in buildings, with colleague Jacob Deva Racusin of New Frameworks Natural Building.

House Planning Help podcast. This British podcast helps owner-builders with high goals for energy efficiency and healthy buildings.

We hope you’ll take the time to listen to these presentations and to share them with your friends and community! The opportunities for making buildings a key part of climate change action are exciting, and Endeavour is glad to be at forefront of this work.

Healthy, zero carbon urban renovation

In 2018, we undertook an urban renovation project in downtown Peterborough, Ontario. The city had just adjusted its by-laws to allow for secondary suites on residential properties. Our client had an empty, 100 year old garage attached to her home and wanted to transform it into a one bedroom rental suite in a healthy, zero carbon urban renovation.

Endeavour brought our sustainable building goals to this renovation, including zero carbon footprint, zero toxins and zero waste. Using innovative approaches including hempcrete insulation, expanded glass sub-slab insulation, earthen floors, tadelakt plaster and much more, we brought new life to this old building.

Click on the slideshow below to see a start-to-finish exploration of this unique project…

2020 Workshop Schedule

2020 Workshop Schedule