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3 Reasons Vancouver Loves Passive Housing

by | Nov 14, 2016 | Affordable, Air Quality, Energy Efficiency, Passive House, Retrofitting

You’ve heard already about Vancouver racing to become the Greenest city in the world by 2020, a lofty goal considering the plan was only approved in 2011. How could we ensure the title is ours by 2020? With the amount of growth Vancouver consistently experiences in the construction industry, our first step is to build more sustainable homes. You can’t drive through a single suburb without counting a few new housing developments. So it’s no surprise that the mayor and city council love Passive housing. If we look at trends in the needs of city residents, it’s obvious Passive housing should play a huge part in making us the Greenest city by 2020.

More Than of Half of Vancouver’s Current Greenhouse Gases Come From Building Operations

The Mayor released a Passive home design toolkit as part of the City’s initiative for the Greenest City Action Plan. This was to encourage the construction industry to take on more “green” initiatives. In a case study provided, the City shows 3 examples of energy use in a single family home in Vancouver. With some upgrades to the PassiveHaus standard, the heating demand is significantly reduced by more than 50%. When a home is built to every standard PassiveHaus holds, it is reduced by another 50% down to 15kWh per square meter, per year. BC hydro describes a kWh (Kilowatt-hour) as a unit of energy equivalent to one kilowatt of power expended for one hour. So, you’d be paying BC hydro less than a quarter your bill in your previous, less energy efficient home.

See Vancouver Passive Home Design Toolkit.

See BC Hydro “Know your kilo-watt hour” article.

Passive Housing is the Next Level of Green Building for Vancouver

We’ve always been known as one of the Greenest cities in Canada, and jumped on the “green living” bandwagon before it became trendy. Since 2008, Vancouver has continued to constantly re-evaluate our goals and change action plans to better fit new and higher goals that the residents share as well. 2008 was when the BC Green Building Code came into affect. Further revisions to the BC Building Code came into play two years later in 2010. PassiveHaus standards simply fit right into our goals. Considering our fast growing economy and city size, it only makes sense to implement known techniques of sustainable living. PassiveHaus homes lower your energy bill and are more comfortable to live in. They also play a large part in reducing our individual ecological footprint.

The Greenest City Initiative Has Influenced “Green” Employment opportunities

Since 2010, there has been a 19% increase in “green” jobs. Three out of the seven sub sectors counted in this are in the construction or building industry. In 2010, there were 16,700 “green” jobs and by 2013, this had increased to 20,000. This is right on track to increase to Vancouvers forecast of 28,000 “green” jobs by 2020. We have the geographic advantage of coastal enterprises that provide doing business with other countries as a port city. We have what other city’s refer to as a “green business ecosystem”. This includes professionals in all sectors, all taking an interest in sustainable living practices and protecting our environment for the future generations. 25% off all Canadian cleantech companies are based here in Vancouver. Out of that 25%, more than 70% are based in Metro Vancouver, employing more than 3,500 people.

There are plenty of reasons to love Passive homes. Vancouver offers many resources to make your home more energy efficient. You can even use some PassiveHaus techniques in renovations if you aren’t planning on doing a complete rebuild. Also, the city backs many large scale “green” projects, and offers support in homeowners plans to improve their own ecological footprint. Take a look at the resources below for more information on how to build or renovate your home to be more energy efficient.

Vancouver Passive Home Toolkit – PDF doc reviewing requirements for building a Passive home

Grande Pacific Homes – Certified professional for PassiveHaus building standard consulting

 

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