Living Labs

Over the past 10 years, we have constructed a number of Living Labs at the Kortright Centre to help advance new concepts in green infrastructure and building design, and provide a controlled environment for the evaluation of innovative products and practices.

Designed to inspire and support healthy and sustainable lifestyles, the TRCA’s living labs showcase the latest in renewable energy, sustainable technologies, water and stormwater management, and green building. The living labs are outfitted with state-of-the-art monitoring equipment and integrated into a central data acquisition and storage network that facilitates partner access to data and allows for real time performance displays.  STEP staff work closely with our academic and industry partners to design and operate the labs, conduct independent third-party product evaluations and provide logistical services tailored to client needs.


Click on the images below to explore STEP’s Living Labs



Book a guided tour of the Living Labs at the Kortright Centre for Conservation

Situated on 325 hectares of woodland, the TRCA’s Kortright Centre for Conservation features several ‘living labs’ and demonstration facilities that are a centre of excellence for urban sustainability, focused on education, research, and demonstration of cutting-edge technologies.

Tour options currently include a guided tour of the LEED Platinum certified Archetype Sustainable House and the Innovation Trail, featuring Canada’s largest educational demonstrations of renewable energy and energy efficient technologies.  Due to the extensive research and testing being conducted at the Kortright Centre for Conservation, not all our labs are available for public tours.

If you are a contractor, architect, project manager, developer, manufacturer and distributor of high performance building products, professor, student or someone who is generally interested in sustainable living, please join us for a tour of the Living Labs at Kortright.

Tour highlights include:

Renewable Energy:

  • Solar photovoltaic (PV) test field where photovoltaic technologies are being demonstrated, monitored, compared and assessed under weather conditions characteristic of the Greater Toronto Area
  • Building integrated solar photovoltaics (PV) and solar domestic hot water systems
  • Solar air heating for preheating household and commercial building ventilation air
  • Wind test field featuring vertical and horizontal turbines with various rating powers installed at different hub heights
  • Residential and commercial geothermal and geo-exchange systems

 Sustainable Technologies:

  • Efficient and future heating and cooling systems to reduce energy use, greenhouse gases and improve thermal comfort
  • Air infiltration best practices in construction and integration into HVAC systems
  • Indoor air quality and management of fresh air for healthy living environment

 Water and Stormwater Management:

  • Integrated ‘reclaimed’ grey water systems for reuse
  • Green infrastructure and low impact development best practices that provide ecological benefits and to help maintain pre-development hydrology. Examples of LID practices include increased pervious cover, downspout disconnection, rainwater harvesting, grassed swales, green roofs, and bioretention areas.

Green Building:

  • Sustainable building practices and material and related building standards/codes
  • Building science and architectural design principles
  • Emerging trends for trades and construction practices for low-carbon building


The Kortright Centre is open daily from 10 am to 4 pm.

Public tours are available on the following days and times:

  • Saturdays and Sundays, March 4 to April 2 and every day during March Break (March 13-17) at 11:30 am, 1:30 pm and 3 pm
  • Every Saturday and Sunday in October and Thanksgiving Monday at 2:30 pm

Tour space is limited and advance registration is required. Please call 905-832-2289 to reserve your spot.

Corporate or school group tours:

To book a corporate or school group tour of the Archetype Sustainable House, please email or call 416.667.6295 ext. 602.


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