Welcome to my first post.
In my new role as CEO of Passive House Canada I have the unique opportunity to criss-cross our country, meet many interesting people and advocate for affordable, comfortable, low energy buildings.
Why Passive House Canada? Because this organization brings together two of my great interests: building better and addressing the climate crisis.
I’ll write more in future about Passive House building standards. For now, can you imagine living or working in a building that has no chilly, cold drafts in winter, stays cool and dry in summer, does not promote mould growth, has air cleaner then the outside air, and doesn’t need fossil fuel to heat? Imagine a new building that uses 90 per cent less energy then a similar, code-built home. Imagine a renovated home or office that uses at least 75 per cent less energy than it did before.
These are the proven Passive House building standards. They’re being used around the world and Canadian builders are jumping on-board, as governments set strict energy consumption levels to address the climate crisis and the public demands more of their buildings.
Canadian buildings are, generally, energy hogs — emitting carbon pollution that contributes directly to the climate crisis. In Toronto, about 57 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions are from buildings. So, retrofitting old buildings to be much more energy efficient and stipulating new buildings be built to high standards should be easy for governments to do. And some are moving in that direction.
Interestingly, the ancestor of today’s Passive House is Canadian. During the energy crisis of the late 1970s, Canadian scientists built the forerunner to the passive house, called Saskatchewan Conservation House. It is still in use today.
The Regina house was extensively reviewed by European Union scientists who were looking for low energy building techniques, as Europe faced its own on-going energy crisis.
The EU developed its own building codes, but a couple of the scientists went further and built the first Passive House in Austria. It, too, is still in use today. In order to continue to develop these building standards, the Passive House Institute was formed to conduct research into high-performing buildings, develop standards and to help spread the word that about these amazing buildings.
Trust me, once you step inside a Passive House building, you’ll be forever impressed. Quiet. Comfortable. Cozy. And energy costs so low your mind with be boggled. Example one: imagine heating and cooling your home in Fredericton, New Brunswick, for less than $80/month … and that includes running your stove, fridge and freezer. That’s the Naughler House. There are dozens of more example.
British Columbia leads the way in Passive House building. In fact, last year in Vancouver more than 20 per cent of proposed buildings were to be constructed to certified Passive House standards. That includes twin towers of 60 storeys each. Passive House standards just aren’t for single family residences, they’re for virtually all building forms.
Stay tuned for more updates about my advocacy for Passive House standards.