Large Passive House
Canada is moving into first place in the low-carbon
building boom. A residence building at the University of Toronto and
apartment complexes in Vancouver are taking Passive House design to new
the growing popularity of low-carbon buildings.
The Heights, a six-storey, 95-unit apartment project in Vancouver,
completed in late 2017, is
Canada’s largest building
certified to the internationally recognized
Passive House standard. The
which has commercial space on the ground floor,
is a simple super-insulated
“dumb building.” No technology or complicated mechanical systems are
involved, just a simple envelope, high quality windows, and high quality air
control through Heat Recovery Ventilation.
In 2017, Vancouver had a new Zero Emissions
Building Plan, and both provincial and federal governments have signaled
changes are coming to building and energy efficiency regulations and
policies as part of plans to slash carbon pollution. These changes will
result in ultra energy efficient buildings becoming the norm by 2030,
according to the Pembina Institute. The Alberta-based organization has
produced a report,
Market Transformation for High-Performance Building Enclosures,
which tracks the rapid growth of Passive House buildings, assesses their
costs and benefits, and sheds light on how public policy can encourage their
The report notes that once the
projects on the books are completed, the number of Passive House units in
North America will have quadrupled, going from 500 in 2015 to over 2,000
units. A quarter of the units (600) are in Vancouver alone, making the city
a hotbed for the North American expansion of these green buildings that
dramatically reduce carbon pollution and energy use, enhance comfort and
durability, and boost the clean economy.
The Heights is a project of the
Vancouver-based Eighth Avenue
Development Group. The company creates and builds creative, healthy, and
sustainable “boutique” type townhome, apartment, and single family home
projects. In addition to the Heights, Eighth Avenue has completed two
GOLD Certified Multi-Family buildings in Vancouver.
Two more high-rise Passive House-certified
apartment buildings are in the works in Vancouver as well, aiming to the
tallest Passive House buildings in the world.
work on a Passive
House residence, which will house 750 students at the University of
Toronto's Scarborough campus, is just beginning in early 2018.