After a two year hiatus, we were back presenting a seminar at BUILDEX this year. Allison joined Lucio from DLP Architecture, and Andre from Harrmann Consulting to discuss …. you guessed it… Passive House! We each looked at one of our Passive House projects from the big picture (design, Passive House related processes, zoning restrictions, and the permitting process in the City of Vancouver) down to the little picture (technical details, air-tightness, mechanical systems, etc.). Luckily, the audience did not forget to set their alarms Thursday morning, as we had an 8:30am start and a packed house for the sold out seminar.

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Allison presented our Khotso Passive House, including several technical details for those attendees who like to geek out on envelope science. These details, and more, will be posted on our blog in the coming weeks, so stay tuned in!

There were some great questions from the audience during the Q&A portion of the presentation, including (we’re paraphrasing here):

Q. Why do you love the Larsen Truss wall assembly? A. thermal bridge free construction, flexibility with on-site framing as the structural wall is on the inside of the air barrier and primary insulated cavity, and excellent performance from a WUFI and vapour control perspective.

Q. What foam did you use under your footings in the Khotso Passive House? A. Mansonville Plastic’s Geofoam EPS39, asthey had performed all the structural tests beyond compressive strength (ex. elastic modulus and flexural strength) that our Structural and Geotechnical Engineers required. They did not, however, have as much data on the insulating value of the product as other EPS products, as it is primarily used in geotechnical applications, so we had to be ultra-conservative in our PHPP model. We believe more accurate insulating data will be available in the near future.

Q. Why not do ‘near Passive House’, why get certified? A. Lucio dealt with this question expertly, and discussed the vast grey area that exists between code construction and Passive House certified construction. When a client comes to us looking for the performance that Passive House promises, it is our responsibility as professionals to actually take the design and construction to that level. The only way to guarantee the performance promised by Passive House is to undergo the rigorous certification and testing process. After having gone through the pre-certification process, we can attest that the process catches all potential areas of weakness, that might have been overlooked otherwise. When someone says ‘near Passive’ or ‘damn near Passive’, despite what may be the best intentions, there is no way to know what that actually means, and ensure that what is built comes close to Passive House performance. It is a term that can get abused by parties interested in property values and marketing, over performance.

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BUILDEX Vancouver is Western Canada’s largest trade show and conference for the construction and architecture industry. It was held at the Vancouver Convention Centre West. The description of our seminar on Buildex’s website:

Gain a comprehensive and diverse rundown on the processes, components and details that make an integrated Passive House building successful. Looking at local PH Projects, attendees will be introduced to the assembly details, air-sealing strategies, mechanical systems and lessons learned from project outcomes. […]

Khotso Passive House – Intergenerational House on an RS-1 Lot in Vancouver’s Riley Park

The Khotso Passive House project team knows that Passive House is a smarter way to build. The integrated project team brought diverse experience, passion, untold hours and late nights to the table to make the Khotso Passive House happen.

The entirety of the 2800 SF single family home with secondary suite is within the Passive House envelope, including the basement. It is located on a typical Vancouver 33’x122′ RS-1 lot with a south facing backyard. The design for this house in the Riley Park Neighbourhood of Vancouver, did not just need to meet the exacting standards of Passive House, but wanted to be beautiful, modern, functional, and elegantly simple. We underwent extensive collaboration with the City of Vancouver in order to achieve a contemporary form, a certifiable Passive House, and a multi-generational client’s need to max out on allowable FSR for the site.[…]

Allison Holden-Pope is passionate about green building and contemporary architecture, founding One SEED Architecture + Interiors in 2008 in order to pursue evocative and sustainable residential design.  Allison holds a Masters in Architecture Degree from McGill University, and has been working in the field of architecture since 2001. She was an early adopter of sustainable practices, achieving LEED AP designation over ten years ago, and is a vocal advocate for Passive House. The exploration of new concepts for modern and green housing continues to be the foundation of her practice.  Current projects include several Passive Houses.

We had a great time, and look forward to continuing to share our lessons learned from the Khotso Passive House.

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