Passive House certification is a quality assurance process designed to ensure project compliance with a strict energy standard that targets up to 90% energy savings when compared to a conventional project. The Passive House Institute determines whether a project meets quantitative levels for airtightness and very low heating demands. This is achieved through extremely durable building materials and high-level detailing of components and intersections. Buildings designed to this standard have high levels of occupant comfort and health with extremely low energy use. Projects are registered and certified through the Canadian Passive House Institute.
A Passive House building focuses on six key criteria:
• super insulated walls;
• high performance triple glazing;
• building air tightness;
• the elimination of thermal bridges;
• a highly efficient mechanical heat recovery system; and
• a dramatic reduction in building energy loads from all sources.
Over the past several years, we have seen interest in the Passive House Standard increase exponentially. The reasons are obvious: dramatic energy savings for building owners, the usefulness of a proven system to achieve these savings, and the opportunity to make a direct and targeted contribution to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.
Local Practice is currently designing two buildings that will contain 90 below-market rental apartments for the SFU Community Trust. The buildings are pursuing Passive House certification, and have the highest expectations for energy efficiency, quality and the creation of a unique community on Burnaby Mountain. With the SFU Community Trust, the project team is striving to create a precedent for BC's Lower Mainland, to prove that rental housing can be liveable, affordable and sustainable for the long term.