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Great Gulf launches revolutionary Active House in Ontario, and announces multi-year partnership with Georgian College 

Coming to select Great Gulf communities, Active House’s visionary methodology sets new standards for indoor comfort, energy efficiency and sustainable building practices. Great Gulf is also supporting sustainable skilled trades education with a $50,000 pledge to Georgian College

After introducing the world’s first Active House-certified home seven years ago, Canada’s leading real estate company Great Gulf announced today the revolutionary Active House will soon be available in select communities across Ontario. A ceremony was held in Bradford with Mayor James Leduc, Georgian College officials and municipal leaders to mark the occasion, unveiling the Summerlyn Active House – an exemplar for the enhanced quality of life within these customizable homes – and announcing a multi-year partnership with Georgian College that will provide scholarships and give students exclusive access to Great Gulf’s facilities for applied research.

Drawing from over a decade of data analysis and real-life experimentation, the state-of-the-art Active House puts users at the centre by making living indoors healthier and more comfortable while having minimal climate impact. Great Gulf and Danish-based manufacturing company Velux are both founding members of the Brussels-based Active House Alliance, a group of international partners working to construct homes based on three key principles: comfortenergy, and environment.

“Active House is a paradigm shift in building design, one that puts the health of both people and the planet first to create a better quality of life. After years of research to understand residents’ experiences living in these homes, we’re thrilled to roll out this innovative approach to building design across Ontario,” says Tad Putyra, President, Great Gulf Low-Rise & Home Technology, and Member of the international Active House Alliance’s Board of Advisory Committee. “The Active House label is a signal to homeowners that their house is designed to improve their overall well-being, and future-proofed for their evolving needs.”

Designed by in-house architects and constructed using Great Gulf’s proprietary H+ME Technology system in the company’s 200,000-square-foot Toronto manufacturing plant, the house is built with prefabricated, CSA-certified wood panels using a robotically precise 3D computer modelling process that pre-emptively eliminates issues before they arise. The parts are then transported to the site for just-in-time assembly.
The Summerlyn Active House has a number of unique rooms and features, including a work-from-home space with access to lots of natural light. Photo courtesy of Great Gulf.

Active House puts people and the planet first, with abundant natural daylight, appropriate thermal climate, and healthy indoor air quality – all while minimizing excessive energy use and carbon emissions. Residents require little to no artificial lighting during the day and will experience improved productivity, concentration, better sleep and moods as natural daylight streams in through strategically oversized windows and operable skylights. Natural airflow moves through the rooms and insulated walls, floors and exteriors reduce unwanted noise.
Based on resident feedback, a WiFi mesh network is integrated to ensure signals never wane in any nook or crevice. The Summerlyn Active House is also Energy Star certified, EnerGuide rated, and net zero ready, with solar panels, an optimized building envelope and Tesla battery installed. Buyers can further customize Active Houses around lifestyle needs, with features that make working from home or aging in place easier and stress-free.
Natural light is a key feature of the Active House design, with strategically-placed skylights. Photo courtesy of Great Gulf.

“To build the Summerlyn house, we’ve drawn on learnings from wide-ranging Active House projects in China, Germany, the Netherlands as well as two of our own Active Houses in Toronto and Thorold. Active House has the potential to transform the homebuilding sector the same way electric vehicles have revolutionized the auto sector,” says Shaun Joffe, Executive Director, Sustainability & Building Sciences, Great Gulf.

Great Gulf and Georgian College invest in sustainable skilled trades

To support the next generation of homebuilders, Great Gulf is developing a multi-year collaboration with Georgian College to launch the Great Gulf Innovation Award Suite, which includes four unique additions to Georgian’s financial aid program, including: The Great Gulf Student Award in Skilled Trades, the Great Gulf Sustainability Award, the Great Gulf Award in Big Data and Artificial Intelligence, and the Great Gulf Engineering and Environmental Technology Entrance Scholarship. A commitment of $50,000, these awards will support 24 students who are driving innovation and sustainability practices over the long-term.

During the event, Bill Tresham, Chief Executive Officer and Executive Chairman, Great Gulf Group, announced that he and his family will match the company’s donation to Georgian College. “I’m excited to join Great Gulf’s effort in supporting the next generation of skilled trades talent. We share so many of the same values with Georgian College, so I’m looking forward to all the great work that will result from the collaboration”.

“Georgian is honoured to welcome this new award suite to benefit our students across seven campuses,” says Dr. Yael Katz, Vice President, Academic, Georgian College. “Great Gulf understands the pressing needs in Ontario’s skilled trades sector, namely, to prepare students for growing career opportunities in this region. This is the start of a great collaboration, and we are excited about the opportunities that lie ahead for Great Gulf and Georgian students alike.”

Dr. Bill Angelakos, Dean, Design and Visual Arts, Computer Studies, added: “This new collaboration between Great Gulf and Georgian College will encompass various initiatives, including developing next generation talent for the sector, experiential learning opportunities for students, and exploring research collaborations. As part of the collaboration, Great Gulf is extending utilization of Bradford’s Summerlyn Active House as a living laboratory rich with applied research possibilities to help evolve people-centric, and sustainable approaches to homebuilding.”

“We’re extremely excited to partner with Georgian College to support students as they identify and solve complex societal and industry needs through human-centred approaches to building,” adds Tad Putyra. “We have spent more than 15 years working in Bradford, and with projects in Barrie and across the region this partnership will deepen our commitment to healthy, sustainable growth in the local community and wider Simcoe-Muskoka region.”
To learn more about Active House, visit the sales centre at 22 Downy Emerald Drive in Bradford, or visit:
About Great Gulf
Established in 1975, the Great Gulf Group including Great Gulf, an international award-winning, low-rise and landmark high-rise residential developer; Ashton Woods Homes, the  largest private builder and 15th largest in the U.S.; First Gulf, an innovative market leader in sustainable, accessible and transit-oriented commercial developments and large scale design-build industrial facilities; Tucker HiRise, a leading construction management company, specializing in the construction of high-density, mixed-used projects; H+ME Technology, a precision engineering panelization manufacturing facility; and Taboo Muskoka, one of Canada’s top-ranked golf courses, is one of North America’s premier real estate organizations. With major projects in Canada and the United States, the company’s fully integrated activities span the entire real estate spectrum. Learn more at
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