Low energy house with double car garage

Garages & carports for the low energy home

Over the past year we have been asked a number of times if garages/carports are possible with the lower energy homes and the answer is, yes – absolutely, why not?

While a stand alone garage or outbuilding has its advantages, for many of us living in colder climates, there are real benefits to a structure that is attached to the home. What’s important is that the garage or carport is constructed in such a way that it does not compromise the weathertight shell of the home, and this is easily done.

We’ve prepared revised sketches of three of EkoBuilt’s low energy home designs to incorporate a garage or carport.

Low energy home with carport

Low energy home with carport

The Stonecrop design with optional carport

Low energy house design with carport

Foxglove design with integrated carport

If there was one limiting factor to incorporating a garage, it would be to not place it on the southern side of the home as this would block the sun. Any other side would be fine.

Introducing a carport or garage actually provides opportunities to add further interest and utility to your home’s exterior, and to create defined outdoor areas for patios, gardens and other features.

The concept below, which shows a double car garage added onto the Trillium model (the EkoModel Home that we’ve been building this year), illustrates how a lovely space would be created on the south-facing wall of the home that would anchor a garden or seating / outdoor dining area. This is actually highly practical, as the door immediately to the left of the garage exits from the home’s living and dining area, just steps from the kitchen.

Trillium house plans with double car garage

Low energy house with double car garage

The Trillium model with optional 2-car garage

View all of EkoBuilt’s house plans, including the models showing sample carport and garage placement.

We’re delighted to work with you to discuss optimal design and placement for any of our low energy house plans. Sample cost per square footage: approx $35/sq ft for a carport, $55/sq for attached garage. Contact us for details.

Don’t forget that you can come out for a walk-through the EkoModel Home this weekend for International Passive House Days.


New pricing and approach to EkoBuilt’s passive house kits

We’ve made some fundamental changes to how we price and deliver our Passive House kits, and here’s why:

EkoBuilt’s goal is to provide anyone building a new home the opportunity of achieving an affordable Passive House. We know that this looks different for everyone.

Foxglove cottage kit plan

Foxglove, 1424 sq ft
Total sample build cost: $337,130. See cost analysis >

Our challenge: The Passive House model, although a simple approach to construction, does require specialized carpentry and building techniques. It has three simple but crucial layers to the building which need to be properly sealed. There is a watertight layer, a wind tight layer, and a vapour tight layer which, when installed properly, easily ensure that the house will perform to the passive house standard.

Our solution: We have simplified our passive house materials package to include all items necessary for a watertight, wind tight, and vapour tight passive house. We are excluding previously included items such as exterior siding, soffit/facia, steel roofing, timber frame, insulation because these items are readily available anywhere in Canada. Doing this allows the home builder much greater flexibility and control over the total project budget.

Why it matters: Our revised passive House material package is important to the consumer in three key ways:

1. For the Do-it-Yourselfer
Because all of the materials necessary to build a watertight, wind tight and vapour tight passive house are available in a single package (including design plans), there is no need to undertake the extensive research and sourcing to figure this out. We have done the hard work for you and in a single phone call or a meeting with one of our representatives we will prove to you that our system is the most cost effective and affordable system on the market.

Sometimes the building permit process alone is burdensome enough to prevent an individual from building their own house. In addition to construction drawings most building departments are now asking for duct design, heat loss calculations, an engineer’s stamp, energy efficiency design summary, etc. EkoBuilt is a registered design firm and in addition to construction drawings (which have always been included with our packages), we are now including all of the paperwork required to satisfy any building department’s requirements. We believe the permit process should be simple and free of headaches and we’re doing all we can to aid in this process.

2. For the small builder or contractor
For the builder/contractor who has a client interested in passive house or just generally wants to offer passive house to clients, this approach is superb. Although passive house is known and understood by many Canadians it is still a relatively new style of building in our country. Therefore most consumers and builders have limited knowledge of proper passive house design specifications and materials, particularly windows and doors.

EkoBuilt is not only specialized in passive house design and construction; we are committed to making the affordable passive house a reality. We have placed all of the necessary materials into one simple package and can offer support, if desired. Our simplified package also provides the builder or contractor with the ability to supply and build most of the house on their own, including exterior siding, roofing, fascia/soffit, interior finishes, etc.

3. For the owner-builder who wants to act as their own general contractor
Many of our clients prefer this approach because they like to choose interior finishes and be completely involved in the decision making process, but it would be beyond them to put together a passive house materials and design package. This is our specialty and we are committed to using the best materials that are also affordable, making it unnecessary for owner-builders to get tangled up in research and complex decisions. Just give us a call and we will explain everything:  we want our clients to be completely aware of and confident in the specific materials used and the reasons behind their selection.

How do you want to build your new home?

Over the years, we have encountered every possible variation in home owner involvement in the new house building process. We understand that you need as much information as possible, particularly on every aspect of building a realistic budget for your project. We also understand that everyone comes at the process differently.

For this reason, we can:

  • Just provide you with one of our 13 passive house plans and materials kits.
  • Provide you with one of our kits, along with additional support and/or services.
  • Build your new passive house from start to finish, including to a completely unique design of your own choosing, or by modifying one of our existing designs to better suit your needs (site requirements, lifestyle needs, etc.).

We can supply and install exterior siding, roofing, fascia/soffit, interior finishes, HRV, kitchens, etc. We have simplified the basic Passive House materials package so that anyone can achieve this standard in an affordable way, but we’re still here to provide a total solution from design through to the installation of the last finish in your new home, if that’s what you’d prefer. Call us today to find out more.

Quick links

PassiveHouse Plans & Prices
PassiveHouse Materials
EkoBuilt PassiveHouse Cost Analysis
PassiveHouse Gallery


Southern elevation of Ottawa passive house by EkoBuilt

PassiveHouse and R2000: A comparison

The R2000 building standard has gained profile in recent years as an energy efficient approach to home building. The formalized program, which has seen thousands of building professionals trained and many R2000 homes constructed, resulted in a great deal of awareness across Canada.

At EkoBuilt, we believe that the PassiveHouse model is the superior choice for the 21st Century Home, and it matters to us that our customers understand how different the R2000 and PassiveHouse concepts are.

We’ve prepared a new page on our website comparing R2000 and PassiveHouse and invite you to read it if you’re considering a home building project or are wondering about the future for building codes and the energy efficiency of different home building methods. What better way to head into the future?

PassiveHouse Compared to R2000, by EkoBuilt


SIGA Majvest building wrap on the EkoModel Home

Building wrap for the passive house

As recent pictures of the EkoModel Home show, we’re using SIGA Majvest for building wrap. This wind and waterproof membrane ensures excellent performance for our building envelope, one of the core features of the passive house standard.

For an overview of this product, SIGA provides an excellent video summary.

Two weeks ago we were already well advanced on installing roofing soffit, as seen in the picture below. Watch for more updates on the build as the summer progresses.

Passive house roof soffit


The Passive House concept in a nutshell

Still not entirely sure about the elements of a Passive House? If you have just 90 seconds to spare, the following is a brilliant and easily digested overview of the Passive House concept:

Passive House Explained in 90 Seconds from Hans-Jörn Eich on Vimeo.

The video was made by Hans-Jörn Eich, a certified Passive House Consultant (Passivhaus Institute in Darmstadt, Germany) and the founder of Pinwheel.

Pinwheel is a PassiveHouse building supply company located in St. Catherine’s, Ontario. EkoBuilt used Pinwheel to supply Agepan fiberboard sheathing and the Heat Recovery Ventilator (HRV) by Zehnder America.

You might be surprised to learn that Passive House materials are readily available in Ontario and across Canada, yet another factor in making Passive House easier to realize and more affordable to build than you might think. Find out more from EkoBuilt.


Ottawa’s First Passive House Kit

Ottawa passive house model home by EkoBuilt

At the framing stage

The Passive House model was made available in an affordable kit format by EkoBuilt in 2015; this year anyone in the Ottawa region has a tremendous opportunity to watch the build of one of these kits.

The EkoModel House is well underway in McNab-Braeside just west of Ottawa. Occupying a 10-acre property with rolling hills, the 2,509 square foot, four-bedroom home is very much in keeping with its surroundings and is being engineered with reduced development impact as a priority.

The house comes comfortably under the 3,000 square foot benchmark set for four-bedroom homes by the Canadian Green Building Council, and would be awarded 4 LEED points. In addition, the home:

  • meets the Passive House surface area to volume ratio of 0.75
  • features a very low maintenance low-slope roof system that eliminates dormers and valleys
  • incorporates materials and systems designed with performance, durability, and lower maintenance in mind, that are also local, recycled and renewable
  • consumes very little energy and has a high degree of albedo (reflectivity), thereby minimizing the heat island effect

To find out more about the EkoModel home and to arrange a visit, please see details on our newly launched Ottawa Passive House project website.


Ottawa Passive House options expand with the EkoModel Home

Residents of the National Capital Region interested in exploring the PassiveHouse concept now have a unique opportunity to see the model first hand.

EkoBuilt launched its line of PassiveHouse plans and material kits in 2015, creating the first affordable kit for homeowners. In 2016 EkoBuilt is demonstrating the build of one of these kits in McNab-Braeside, just west of Ottawa.

Ottawa passive house designSituated on a 10-acre property with rolling hills, the EkoModel home is available for visits by appointment. We will also be blogging about the construction process and key features of this passive house build during 2016.

We’re excited to demonstrate the power of the PassiveHouse model, which requires no furnace or boiler, even in the extreme cold of an Eastern Ontario winter.

Did you know that passive houses allow for energy savings related to space heating and cooling of up to 90% when compared with typical building stock, and over 75% in comparison to average new home builds?

We hope that anyone interested in the concept will visit and feel free to ask questions. Find out more about how affordable the PassiveHouse model can be. Contact us today.