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Deep Energy Efficiency: Passive House in the Affordable Housing Sector

Posted on September 26, 2016 by HSC

salusSalus Clementine Passive House (Photo: Ottawa Salus Corporation)


The 2016 HSC Energy Forum will feature an exciting Passive House case study. Lisa Ker, Executive Director of Ottawa Salus Corporation, will share the story of Clementine, the first Passive House multi-residential affordable housing project in Canada. The Salus Clementine project is a 42-unit, 4-storey apartment building in Ottawa. It’s forecasted to use as little energy as one single family home built in Canada today. Heating-related greenhouse gas emissions are 75% less than comparable buildings.

High Savings, Benefits Aplenty

Passive House design emphasizes energy performance. Buildings typically achieve energy savings of 80-90% compared to those built using conventional design methods. Its approach focuses on nine design fundamentals, including efficient building shape, passive solar gain, superinsulation for high airtightness, heat recovery, and thermal bridge-free construction. As a  result, buildings are highly energy efficient, have better indoor air quality, greater durability and resiliency, and increased thermal comfort.

Passive House has been used in several European countries, including cold climate nations like Finland and Denmark. The criteria include some flexibility to accommodate heating demands in cold climates. Most cold climate Passive Houses require a heating system, but such systems are much smaller than those in conventional buildings. And while construction costs are typically higher than for conventional buildings, Passive Houses’ heating costs are 80-90% less than code buildings, which results in significant savings over a building’s life.

Greater Adoption in U.S.A.

Passive House design is becoming an increasingly more viable approach for new builds, as utility costs continue to rise and unprecedented levels of funding become available for affordable housing development. In fact, the U.S. housing departments are already seeing a marked increase in the number of new affordable housing builds that use it.

In the U.S., federal tax credits for affordable housing construction are allocated by state housing finance agencies. Several states are starting to offer points for Passive House certification to their approval criteria to decide who receives the tax credits. As a result, developers are showing greater interest in Passive House design in their new construction proposals.

Hear More on October 27!

At the 2016 HSC Energy Forum, you’ll be able to hear more about Ottawa Salus’ exciting venture into this design model, including:

  • Why the organization decided to opt for the Passive House model;
  • How the project was funded;
  • What the energy and cost savings and added benefits will be; and
  • What they’ve learned along the way!

Ontario social housing providers and Service Managers won’t want to miss hearing from Ottawa Salus or our many great speakers at the 2016 HSC Energy Forum on October 27 at the Holiday Inn Toronto-Yorkdale!

More about Passive House

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