The concept of Sustainable Development was born out of the United Nations sponsored Brundtland Commission, whose final report in 1987 defined sustainable development as: development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Sustainability is a holistic approach that considers ecological, social and economic dimensions, recognizing that all these things must be considered in harmony to find lasting prosperity.

Three Pillars Of Sustainability

Sustainable Design Strategies

At Dewson Architects, we thoroughly review all sustainable design strategies, and tailor viable solutions for each of our clients and their buildings. We have crafted beautiful sustainable homes, cottages, and boutique commercial buildings in Toronto, Ontario’s Cottage Country, and beyond. We utilize LEED, Passivehouse, and NetZero concepts to provide tailored beautiful solutions for our clients. There are many strategies to consider for your project, but most can align with the following essential categories:

Alt-Cultural Heritage

Cultural Heritage

Heritage restoration, design for adaptive reuse, design for future accessibility, design for century lifecycle, low site impact



Low energy demand, geothermal/aquathermal, energy recovery, solar PV, wind harvesting, battery storage


Passive Design

Site selection, integration with site, optimized overhangs and shading, stack effect & cross ventilation, thermal mass, high albedo materials


Material Selection

Reused or reclaimed, locally sourced, sustainably harvested, highly durable, low maintenance, recycled content & easily recyclable


Reduced Emissions

Materials with small footprint, materials easily recyclable, fully electric space conditioning, EV charging, reduce gas usage



No VOC finishes, HEPA/UV air filtration, even/stable temperature gradients, humidity control, biophilic design


Building Enclosure

Highly airtight, no thermal bridging, continuous exterior insulation, hygrothermal analysis, advanced moisture control, high performance fenestration



Low flow fixtures, drought tolerant plants, site drainage management, rainwater harvesting, greywater reuse, permeable pavings

Carbon Footprint

Dewson Architects believes that lowering our carbon footprint should be at the core of our design decisions, and we strive for our buildings to reach Net-Zero carbon. Carbon emissions represent the true climatic impact of buildings. The construction and operation of our buildings accounts for a large portion of our overall carbon footprint.


Net-zero is a concept equation attempting to reach zero carbon in the construction and operation of a building. A zero-carbon building counterbalances the carbon emissions from making and operating the building, with onsite or procured carbon-free renewable energy. For this to be possible, we must start by drastically reducing the energy demand in our buildings, and choose our materials wisely.

Operational Carbon

Operational carbon is the emissions associated with a building’s energy consumption. We reduce operational carbon by implementing high performance building enclosures and natural passive design strategies, which lower the space conditioning energy demands. This can be quantified by using the Passivhaus standard, which is a set of criteria aimed at creating ultra-low energy use buildings.

Embodied Carbon

Embodied carbon is the emissions associated with materials and construction processes throughout the whole lifecycle of a building. Conscientious materials review and selection can reduce the embodied carbon. Criteria such as locally sourced materials, locally manufactured, recycled/reused content are critical.