You wouldn’t go skiing without putting on your parka and zipping it up.
In conventional construction, the building envelope is its snow gear, but buildings aren’t always de-signed to wear the right layers and zip up, even in colder climates.
Why is that?
Unlike a skier, a building always has room for heating and cooling equipment, and the cost of power running that equipment has become widely accepted as a necessary operating cost.
Unfortunately, these costs are paid for by its future owner, so it’s easy for the current building industry to neglect these costs and only go as far as to match the building to its required standard by law. But there’s a better solution: Passive House.
This is Passive House in a nutshell.
If you dress your building for the weather, you can heat it the way a skier does – using body heat. Better yet: unlike a parka, a well-insulated building keeps you warm in winter and cool in summer.
The Passive House criteria aim to make a comfortable building that operates on as little outside energy as possible. It’s a stringent building performance standard that ensures a building is steadily supplied with fresh air, yet naturally insulated from extreme temperatures.
PASSIVE HOUSE BASICS
The design concept can be used for every new building, and many thousand examples have been built for different use in a variety of climates, based on different construction types.
Passive House Windows
Adequate Ventilation Strategy
Thermal Bridge Free Design
The Passive House standard was created in Germany in 1991.
It was informed in part by a Saskatchewan case study house built in 1977. Since then, 60,000 buildings worldwide have achieved the standard. Over 2,000 of these are in Canada, and of those, most are un-der eight years old.
The Canadian market is beginning to recognize the potential of Passive House to dramatically reduce operational costs by consuming roughly 90% less energy. Simultaneously, Canadi-ans realize that climate change needs urgent action, and the Passive House standard offers a signifi-cant opportunity to reduce energy consumption by buildings.
The Saskatchewan Conservation House, the birthplace of Passive House solar home design
The world’s first Passive House, Darmstadt-Kranichstein, Germany
The ‘House Of Energy’ Is The World’s Most Energy Efficient Building
Passive House at MCM
MCM is a proud corporate member of Passive House Canada, and actively involved in Vancouver’s lively Passive House community. We participate in Passive House Canada events and organize our own internal events to build up our collective knowledge. We have three Certified Passive House Designers/Consultants and several more working towards certification. Those working towards their certification have the chance to participate in our weekly study group while studying for the rigorous CPHD exam.
Andreas T. Conrad
DIPL.-ING. (Architektur), M.ARCH, B.ARCH, LEED ® AP,
Certified Passive House Designer
Architect AIBC, MRAIC, LEED AP BD + C
Certified Passive House Designer,
1468 Alberni Street
We are delighted to be collaborating with Robert A. M. Stern Architects on one of the largest planned Passive House projects in the world: 1468 Alberni Street, and we’re excited that these twin residential towers will be a feather in our city’s hat.
As policies and energy codes become increasingly stringent it’s important for us to draw on this knowledge to meet these requirements. It’s equally important that we keep abreast of newly available products and materials as the market adapts to growing demand for high performance solutions.
1468 Alberni St
Asia Standard Americas
Landa Global Properties
43 & 48
Robert A.M. Stern Architects
Musson Cattell Mackey Partnership
CHIL Interior Design
Ultra low-energy building
We’re excited about this cutting-edge project that will breathe new life into iconic twin towers in Vancouver’s West End. Our update will offer residents 580 new units in a sustainable, zero-emission building right in the heart of the city. Families are welcome: with a family-friendly units, an updated childcare facility, a new park, the building is designed to support life inside and out.
We strike a balance between preserving Vancouver’s rich history and bringing in the new. We’re keeping the building’s historic masonry, but changing the massing of the base to offer a smoother visual transition into towers above it. In addition to refreshing the massing, new residential units will help revitalize Eihu lane, giving it a stronger residential presence and making it more friendly to both pedestrians and cyclists.
Pioneering Sustainable Design
As the world’s largest Passive House building, this project will set Vancouver apart as a global leader in sustainable design. Understanding and applying Passive House criteria is a challenge that demands design agility, creative solutions, and new approaches. We met that challenge with carefully considered materials, and design decisions such as adding height to each floor to meet Passive House standards. State-of-the-art window treatments, HVAC systems, and other materials ensure the least possible energy loss.
Better quality of life
However, the design challenge was a labor of love—meeting Passive House standards will mean better indoor air quality for the building’s residents, less street noise, and a reduced carbon footprint with lower energy costs. In short: a better quality of life for the people who live at 1468 Alberni St.
We’re always seeking new ways to apply passive principles to our designs.
As policies and energy codes evolve, we draw on our Passive House knowledge to keep up with them. We keep up to date on latest materials, so we can apply them to offer high performance solutions amid the growing demand for zero-emission buildings.
Passive House Trends
Since Passive House is silent on the sustainability and embodied energy of building materials, we be-lieve that this standard will increasingly go hand in hand with rigorous life cycle analysis (LCA). There is a burgeoning Embodied Carbon Network chapter in Vancouver, and they are working with Passive House Canada to educate the industry.
We are very keen on the Passive House standards. They are quantitative, based in science, and they have a strong thirty year track record. But like any sustainability standard there is always opportunity to improve, which is why we feel it’s important to track these trends and participate in community events to keep up with best practices as sustainable methods evolve.