By Donna Mayer
Special to Ontario Construction News
Leaders in the Canadian design and construction industry are tackling climate change and courting new customers by embracing passive design strategies that maximize the use of free, ambient sources of energy to light, heat, cool, and ventilate building spaces.
Passive House design leaders reduce the need for “active” energy-consuming mechanical systems that cost money to heat, cool, and circulate air, producing 90 per cent operating cost savings on day one.
Ten of these early adopters caught our eye and we have named them the Top 10 Passive House Industry Leaders. Our Top 10 List is made up of architects, developers and owners from regions across the country.
The listing is alphabetical.
Coolearth Architecture Inc.
Richmond Hill, Ontario
Coolearth Architecture Inc. was founded in 2008 to design and implement projects that achieve high levels of energy efficiency, comfort, and durability.
Breezeway House is a 3,300-sq. ft. multi-generational house designed to be durable, energy efficient, comfortable, bright and regenerative. It is targeting Passive House Certification. Coolearth predicts the house will need only 13 photovoltaic panels to achieve their Net Zero goal.
Dubbeldam Architecture + Design
Dubbeldam Architecture + Design is a multi-disciplinary design studio specializing in creating innovative and environmentally-responsible design solutions.
Their Skygarden House, in Toronto’s urban core, is a renovation that brought an old, leaky home close to Passive House levels of performance, and recognition from the Green Building Council. High-performance insulation, an airtight building envelope, triple glazing, and mechanical ventilation with energy recovery aid in minimizing space-conditioning requirements.
Indwell is a Christian charity that creates affordable housing communities in south-western Ontario which has committed to the Passive House standard.
Their project, Blossom Park, is the redevelopment of a group home into 34 supportive apartments and a community hub in Woodstock, Ontario.
Landa Global Properties and Asia Standard Americas
Vancouver land developers Landa Global Properties and Asia Standard Americas are proposing to build the tallest Passive House development in the world.
Known as 1400 Alberni, the proposal is for two residential towers (43 and 48 storeys), amounting to about 650,000 sq. ft. (60,387 sq. m.)
A mix of 491 condominium and market rental units will be created, along with an onsite childcare facility, a new park, and improvements to the public realm.
Lanefab is an integrated design/build company that crafts custom homes and infill mini-homes (laneway houses) with design quality and energy efficiency as core values.
Trafalgar St. Passive House is the single-family Lane House built by Lanefab in Vancouver in 2018. The house is rated RS-5, but the east-west urban lot had very poor solar access making it a challenging site.
See comprehensive profile page xx.
Landform Architecture Ltd.
Landform Architecture offers architectural design, industrial design, landscape design, and planning services throughout British Columbia. Advocating that architecture must respond directly and simply to its geographic, climatic, and urban context, the firm has been nationally recognized for their regionalist approach to sustainable design.
The new childcare centre at Okanagan College in Penticton is an excellent example. Designed by Landform Architecture, it is the first commercial building in Canada to receive Passive House certification.
Nick Bray Architecture Ltd.
Nick Bray Architecture designs and builds custom homes specializing in modern, sustainable, passive homes.
The Passive Narrow is a modest size Certified Passive House built on an accessible budget, currently under construction on a 25 ft. wide lot in Vancouver.
Perkins and Will
Perkins and Will is a global architectural firm with a demonstrated commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions in a meaningful, measurable way. This year they are celebrating 12 years of carbon-neutral business operations.
With the stated purpose that “We’re in it for the greater good,” Perkins and Will is walking the talk, sponsoring Passive House Canada’s High-Performance Buildings Student Design Competition.
Souls Harbour Rescue Mission
The Souls Harbour Rescue Mission is a registered Christian charity established in 1990 that aims to rescue people from poverty and addiction through emergency food, clothing and shelter, and recovery programs.
The Samaritan Passive House Project is the Mission’s project to replace their aging soup kitchen and men’s emergency shelter and add 20 affordable housing units and a 60 spot subsidized daycare.
The Mission reclaimed a contaminated lot, built an environmentally friendly “green” building, and doubled the capacity of their men’s shelter from 12 to 24 spaces.
Prince George, B.C.
Stantec Architecture is a top tier global design and delivery firm. Founded in 1954 as a one-person practice by Dr. Don Stanley in Edmonton, Alberta, Stantec now has 22,000 employees working in over 400 locations across six continents.
Stantec is the architect on record for the University of Northern British Columbia’s new Wood Innovation Research Lab (WIRL) located in Prince George. The lab is a certified Passive House, the first building of its type in North America to exceed the exacting international standard.