They are buildings so energy efficient they don’t need a furnace, an air conditioner or any other kind of active climate control to keep their residents comfortable through the sticky summers and icy winters in many parts of Canada.
“Passive houses” are buildings that rely on insulation, ventilation and heat from their occupants or sun falling on them to maintain the perfect temperature.
In Canada, up until now, they’ve mostly been single-family dwellings — green dream homes for those who can afford them. But now, builders using international passive-house design principles and standards are scaling up to big apartment buildings.
The pioneers on this new frontier aren’t custom home builders for the rich and eco-conscious — they’re non-profit organizations that build affordable housing. And they’re promising more comfortable apartments with extremely low utility bills for some of Canada’s most vulnerable residents.