images via Houseplans.com
It is exciting to see Passive House design come to North America; it makes so much sense to design a house so that it doesn't need a lot of technology to keep warm or cool, just careful design and siting, lots of insulation and sealing, and good ventilation. It works really well in temperate climates like British Columbia, where Alexander Maurer of Marken Projects is building a demonstration home.
According to the press release,
This 2,400 square feet, four bedroom single family home, will be consuming up to 90% less energy for heating, cooling and building operation than a standard house. Due to its superior insulation and air tightness, the compact design and by taking advantage of passive systems such as solar gains, this house is able to maintain a comfortable temperature in winter and summer without any active heating and cooling. "Means, this house will keep you cosy in winter without furnace and cool in summer without air conditioner," according to Alexander Maurer director of Marken Projects.
The houses are designed by architect Silvia Steurer, a graduate of the Architectural Institute at the University of Innsbruck, and based on a design by Austrian architect Matthias Schindegger of Maschin Arhitektur, shown above. On the Houseplans.com website they say that they are aims for a LEED Platinum Standard and to meet the German Passive House Standard, which we have described in our post Passive Design and Passive House Mean Two Different Things.
The press release lists other green features of the house:
The extensive list of Green Building features includes a highly energy efficient heat recovery ventilation and geothermal system, a flat roof mounted Solar Photovoltaic (Electricity) and Solar Thermal system (Hot Water), a rainwater harvesting and greywater recycling system, a green herb garden roof, south oriented triple glazed windows and sliding doors and last but not least the use of renewable, low-VOC materials throughout the design, making it a super green home.
I do have some quibbles with the hyperbole; the press release claims that
"While the Passive House idea is not new to Canada with a few houses already built, Marken Projects wants to bring it to a whole new level by introducing Passive technologies and expertise from Austria and Germany new to North America."
These techniques are not new to North America; Katrin Klingenberg has been doing them for years. There is a Passive House Institute that is the official certifier of Passive House standard in the US, and dozens of certified passive house consultants across the United States and a few in Canada.
Calling it "the first Passive House in North America seeking LEED® Home Canada Platinum certification and using a European modular wood building system. " is a bit over the top. What is European about SIPs? And what true passive house has a Geothermal System for heating and cooling?
But that is all press release marketing talk. Silvia Steurer appears to have designed a house that meets the Passiv House standard, they have made the plans available to anyone on Houseplans.com, and they appear to be the first Passive houses offered for sale by a speculative builder. That is taking it mainstream, and a step forward.
More at Marken Projects.
More on Passive House:
The Third Industrial Revolution
Passive Houses Get Good Graphic Explanation
Passive Design and Passive House Mean Two Different Things
Passivhaus in the New York Times
A Passiv Haus in Urbana, Illinois