Have you been curious what steps the City of Vancouver can take to help reach our ambition of becoming the Greenest City by 2020? Until November 30th, you can see the leading edge of energy-efficient house design on display at the AIBC gallery at 100 – 440 Cambie Street.
The exhibition, ran with Canadian Passive House Institute now called Passive House Canada and titled Art and Science of the High-Performance Passive House, showcases products ranging from bricks made of mushroom spores to thermally-separated balcony attachments. A variety of inspirational precedent houses designed to Passive House standards are also on display.
Passive House certified design has been highly successful, yet slow to catch on in Vancouver. The criteria for a certified design are performative, rather than prescriptive — this means the heating, air exchanges, and electricity use are tested for compliance at the end of construction rather beforehand. Prescriptive designs run the risk of not responding to specific site conditions that the standards may not have accounted for.
According to members of the launch panel held on November 10th, Passive Houses can carry an additional 10% in the capital cost while saving up to 90% on the hydro bill. Few houses have been built so far as the construction requires extra-thick walls that eliminate occupied square feet and includes techniques that contractors are unfamiliar with. Beyond reducing the cost of your bill, the designs eliminate noise, allow for extraordinary indoor air quality, and provide consistent temperatures across the whole space (including by the windows).