Our company was fortunate to be included in an amazing article in the Ottawa Citizen newspaper written by Patrick Langston.
The article ‘Comfort is key in a PassiveHouse’ discusses how true energy-efficient homes are more comfortable &, ironically, actually save people money! Passive homes are prevalent in Europe but not well known in North america for some reason. We believe if more people knew of the cost saving benefits of a passivehouse, they would dominate new construction in North America especially here in Canada. By now, we can all appreciate utility costs are rising at exponential rates & who can afford this? We believe the rising operational costs of a home are unsustainable and passive homes are the answer to the future of home building.
You can read the full article here – Ottawa PassiveHouse Newspaper Article
Building outside the box
An ultra-energy-efficient-home-in-a-box? Not quite, but an Ottawa custom home builder is offering a kit for those wanting a passive house, one so efficient that it requires only ten per cent of the energy needed in a conventional dwelling.
EkoBuilt, which has been building log homes since 2006, now sells Eko PassiveHouse kits in a variety of styles and sizes. The kit consists of the weathertight shell including cladding, doors and windows, and insulation. Buyers can arrange their own construction or contract with EkoBuilt to erect the shell and install wiring, plumbing and other elements.
A passive house achieves energy efficiency through an exceptionally tight building envelope, orientation, shading and other strategies. Benefits include not just lower heating and cooling bills but increased comfort — consistent temperatures from room to room, for example — and superior air quality.
The EkoBuilt line, which is certified by the International Passive House Institute, consists of a dozen different plans. They range from the one-bedroom Calendula at 624 square feet to the 2,152-square-foot Stonecrop with three bedrooms and a loft/fourth bedroom on the second floor.
Exteriors feature wood, fibre cement or steel cladding while interiors have exposed timber post-and-beam construction. Main living areas are generally open concept. Walls and ceilings, insulated to R-54 and R-62 respectively, use a combination of rock wool insulation and expanded polystyrene. Heating and cooling is via an air-to-air heat pump.
Prices vary. The Foxglove, a 1,424-square-foot home with three bedrooms and two baths, would cost about $318,665 start to finish including the kit, wiring and plumbing, interior finishes, and construction costs. The lot, hydro hook up and some other expenses are extra.
EkoBuilt co-owner Paul Kealey says “the time is right” to introduce the company’s passive home line. He believes recent energy-efficiency upgrades in the building code and general awareness about energy conservation is spurring interest in passive homes, a concept that originated in Germany in the 1930s, spread internationally, and is now entering, albeit gradually, the North American market.
“The passive house will revolutionize the housing industry,” he says, adding that government incentives would aid that revolution. That’s in part because a passive house costs five to 10 per cent more to build than a conventional home. Buyers, alas, tend not to think long term when it comes to operating costs such as a passive home’s payback in energy savings, not to mention reduction in greenhouse gases.
Other Ottawa-area firms offer passive house design and construction services. Arca-Verde Architects, for example, has projects in Wellington Village and Westboro. The former will be a passive house while the latter incorporates passive concepts.
Both will include salvaged metal cladding and cisterns for rainwater collection. They’ll also be net zero-ready (electricity-generating panels can be installed later) and designed for aging in place. The Westboro project is being built by Ottawa green builder RND Construction.
VERT plan.design.build is also involved in passive houses, and Homesol Building Solutions is the design consultant on over 20 passive homes being built in Ontario and western Quebec.