1st CERTIFIED EnerPHit Passive Home Built in Canada. Princess Avenue, North Vancouver BC
CASE STUDY: PRINCESS-EnerPHit
1st CERTIFIED EnerPHit Passive Home Built in Canada
Grande Pacific Homes Presents: 2958 Princess Avenue, North Vancouver BC
I purchased this property in November of 2015. I submitted an application to the district for a revision of the existing home and surrounding landscape. On March of 2016 I recieved my permit and began construction. I was familiar with the Passive House movement and, across my desk, came an invitation to take a course on the passive house standards. I immediately signed up and within two month of training and subsequent exam I became a Certified Passive House Consultant. With all this new knowledge and a desire to “make a difference” I went back to the architects to re-evaluate and adjust the earlier plans with the Passive build standards in mind. As this was my first attempt to build an EnerPhit Passive House I could not have picked a more backwards approach and design. The multi level roof lines were complicated, a turret at the top, from the centre of the main living area, two slopes (butterfly wings) on either side and a flat (skirt) roof around the perimeter and over the garage. These features required a lot of back and forth with the architect to address thermal bridges between the many junctions.
The new design included walls that would end up over 14in thick, windows and doors that were triple paned with a U Value of .8 or less. This design would include an envelope so tight that it would pass an air blow door test of less than 1 air exchange per hour. Honestly. I learned a lot and I was determined to do as much of it as I could so that my experiences were lasting. Changing the design inevitably incurred extra costs but we were committed to achieving the best bang for the buck for what is now the first Certified EnerPhit Passive Home in Canada, featured on the Passive House Canada website.
What I found to be most amazing is the lack of accountability there is within the existing building code. The code states and dictates how the house should be put together so that it is built efficient and air tight. But it does not ask or require you to prove that it has been built as such. One of the most powerful tools a builder, or for that matter a homeowner, can use to ensure the project has been built properly is to perform a Blow Door Test. This test measure how much air is exchanged within one hour. The tighter or ( sealed) the envelope is less air exchanges oper hour. A new Passive House is allowed .6 An EnerPhit Passive House is allowed 1. Most municipalities do not require a test on any new or renovated projects. With a few simple procedures and materials added to your project you can expect to se energy savings of up to 85%.
There are several Passive House Certifications and one of them is EnerPhit. Which takes into account that not all projects can start off new. Some require the retrofitting of existing properties or projects. In this case, the retrofit rebuild Princess EnerPhit, saw the heat load drop from 200 kWh/m2a to 26 kWh/m2a and an 85% improvement in the home’s energy performance.
I currently live in the Princess EnerPHIt home with my family so we can enjoy the experience and prove out the concepts. The proof is in the quality, comfort and savings. In June of 2017, Princess-EnerPHit became the first Certified Passive EnerPHit Home in Canada, registered with Passive House Canada.