Passive House and modular construction were made for each other

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bella bella

credit: Monte Paulsen

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There are certain accepted truths: Building passive house type buildings is expensive. Building in the north is expensive and time-consuming. Prefab construction is shoddy. Housing in aboriginal communities is moldy and expensive to heat.

And then there is this new housing just being completed in Bella Bella, British Columbia, that turns all of these accepted truths on their head. It's staff housing for the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority, a row of two storey townhouses. They are built to Passive House standards by Britco, a big west coast modular company, and designed by Peter Treuheit and Koen Drugmand of Mobius Architecture. And, according to Monte Paulsen of Red Door Energy Design, who was the Passive House consultant, it was not that expensive: "This project likely has no discernible Passive House cost premium. There is no doubt it cost far less than on-site construction, and far less than panellized construction."

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