Roughly defined, Passive House is a building design certification that consumes very little energy to operate, promotes a reduction in carbon emissions and ultimately results in an occupant’s improved comfort.
This energy efficient building certification ensures the design has achieved a very high level of air-tightness compared to conventional construction methods. This method also provides excellent indoor air quality and heat recovery performance through pre-planning and a rigorous approach to design and construction.
Key features of a Passive House certified building are superior insulation, advanced windows as well as testing and configuration to reduce heat losses of thermal bridges. The design process may also include selecting a site that is oriented to take advantage of solar gain.
Passive House certification is an accomplishment that will ultimately reduce building energy costs to a fraction of a conventional building. According to the German Passive House Institute, this equates to a 90% reduction in the need for space heating and cooling.
Ottawa Salus is currently in the construction phase of their first Passive House pre-Certified building, “Salus Clementine”. The 42 unit supportive residential building for adults living with a mental illness is the first of it’s kind in Ottawa and a first for North America.
The Salus project has had the key features of the certification incorporated into its design, the highlights of which include R-75 insulation in the roof, R-65 insulation in the walls, and an R-59 insulated slab. Additionally, the site boasts continuous ventilation, exchanging with fresh air every four hours. It also features triple-glazed windows and doors with up to 3 times the efficiency of conventional alternatives.