We renovate, build, consult, and educate.

We work primarily in the GTA, the Golden Horseshoe and Muskoka areas of Ontario.

 Our mission is to foster ecologically balanced methods of construction and energy production in order to promote more sustainable and healthy communities. Founded in 2007 the Fourth Pig is a non-profit worker co-operative that is owned and operated by its members. Our members are invested in the success of the organization and we are proud to share and promote cooperative values.

Buildings can make a difference. Buildings can be low carbon and climate change resistant. Sustainable building means a cleaner environment, more efficient energy generation and use, more effective use of building materials, and healthier living spaces. The result is comfortable buildings that are good for the planet and good for your health.

For more on why we work the way we do
see this short video

 House with wood siding

renovate/build

Our work includes custom homes, additions, and renovations for residential and commercial clients. See below for some sample projects and here for a PDF of our portfolio. 

We produce high performance buildings. We pay close attention to the embodied carbon and the health impacts of our materials. We are trained and experienced with Passive House (PH) building, net zero and carbon zero buildings.

We recommend the principles of an “integrated design process” for projects. This approach brings together the key stakeholders (owners, architects, engineers, tradespeople and others) to create a project plan. 

 

 Two Fourth Pig staff in front of sample Passive House wall and window

consult

We can be hired as a coach to help you through a project you are managing or as a consultant on your project (such as around building envelopes and other Passive House processes).

 Fourth Pig staff presenting to crowd guelph organic 2017

Educate

The Fourth Pig is also committed to education as a crucial part of promoting more sustainable shelters. We host presentations and provide hands-on workshops. 

You can find our upcoming public events on our events page. 

We also publish an e-newsletter, "Force of Nature" about natural and green building and sustainable energy. You can sign up here.

Straw bale wrap, straw bale addition, super energy efficient

 

We converted this leaky and poorly insulated 60's home in Lake of Bays, Muskoka, to a quiet, comfortable year-round family haven through a combination of straw bale wrap, dense pack cellulose an additional exterior wall and straw bale insulated addition. We modeled the home in the Passive House software, PHPP, to help us maximize our energy savings. 

We used FSC lumber and No Added Urea Formaldehyde sheets, zero VOC eco-friendly adhesives, finishes and sealants. The house features a wood fired boiler which also heats domestic water and water for space heating. A solar hot water heater was also installed for hot water and supplement radiant heating. Insulation included denim batt and cellulose.  Perlite was used for under slab basement insulation and to insulate block walls. 

The interior walls are finished with a clay based earth plaster. The exterior walls are finished with a clay-based plaster with lime stabilization. 
 

 
 Bedroom with earth plaster walls, rounded corners around windows, wood floor. 
 Living room with wood floor, ceiling and walls.
 Room with wood floor, plaster walls wood ceiling, wood heater.

For more images of this project see here

From barn to brewery

 


We transformed an old horse barn to an energy efficient brewery. GoodLot Farmstead Brewing makes hyperlocal beers, growing their ingredients on their organic farm or getting them locally. Now GoodLot is one of Canada’s first (if not the first) 100% electric brewery with solar power. 

The brewery is super airtight, designed to meet passive house standards with super insulated walls and roof (R40) and R60 attic. We focused on using recycled (where possible) and recyclable materials. We used lower carbon concrete - saving 60% carbon reduction over typical concrete - recycled content rebar, recycled content galvalume interior wall, ceiling lining of brewery, and exterior foundation skirt. All wood not reused is FSC wood. Windows and doors are passive house standard triple glazed wood aluminum clad. LED lights are used without. Finally we used durable non toxic finishes on the interior.

Read more about the low carbon approach to this build (and see more photos) in the article "Beer and Building Science Inseperable At Last." 
 

 
 Bedroom with earth plaster walls, rounded corners around windows, wood floor.
 Living room with wood floor, ceiling and walls.
 Room with wood floor, plaster walls wood ceiling, wood heater.

Deep energy renovation with straw bale addition

 

This project was a deep-energy full renovation and addition on a single family home in the beaches area. Durability, quality, energy efficiency, comfort and long lasting beauty were priorities for this extensive renovation and addition on a historical home in dire need of repair.  

The historical front facade was restored. The addition is insulated with straw bales and has a super-insulated ICF foundation. Perlite was used for the underslab in the addition. Along with straw bales, the house is insulated with soya based spray foam and dense pack cellulose. A combination of in-floor radiant heat and re-used original cast iron radiators were installed in new locations. The roof was done with Enviroshake Shingles and a white rubber membrane on the flat roof.

The project includes Passive House windows and an energy recovery ventilator. We used FSC certified lumber and wood products and more environmentally sound choices for adhesives and sealants. 

 

 
 Small upstairs room with slopping attic, what side walls, blue wall with window.
 Modern kitchen wood cabinets, steel appliances, gas stove. 
 Bathroom shower with glass doors and sink, golden coloured walls

For more images of this project see here

Green home renovation, energy conservation

 

Early 20th century home in need of repair, lacking insulation, kitchen in disrepair. On the second floor we installed three south facing recycled windows for passive solar heat, and energy star windows throughout house, installed new ceilings, super-insulated top floor with cellulose, and denim insulation on ground floor, complete bathroom, kitchen, and living room renovation using reclaimed wood, conservation wood, lime and earth plasters, LED lighting and more. 

 

 
 Open concept ground floor kitchen and living room. wood floor, wood cabinets, steel appliances, lime plaster walls.
 Kitchen before renovation   

Kitchen before renovation

 

 Kitchen after renovation   

Kitchen after renovation

 

For more images of this project see here

Cottage renovation, energy conservation

 

The Fourth Pig fixed up a cottage in the Muskoka region of Ontario. As with all of our work we emphasized the use of more environmentally sound choices for adhesives and sealants, reclaimed wood, as well as natural plasters and a strong emphasis on quality insulation. 

 

 
 Open concept ground floor kitchen and living room. wood floor, wood cabinets, steel appliances, lime plaster walls.
 Basement two wooden doors, wood floor, white plaster floor and ceiling with LED potlights
 Bedroom, bunkbeds, plater walls, glass sliding door, wooden floor   

Why we are different

 

The Fourth Pig is featured in a short video by Senco - an initiative of Georgian College’s Centre for Changemaking and Social Innovation (CCSI). We are excited to be able to share here a bit of what we do and why we do it.