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Courtesy of Greenedmonton.ca


The seeds of the modern passive-house industry were sown in Regina in 1977. Prompted by the oil crisis, a team of researchers constructed the visionary Saskatchewan Conservation House—a home three times more energy-efficient than the average contemporary home, with no furnace. Unfortunately, the burgeoning Canadian interest in advanced building was curtailed after an abrupt drop in energy prices. 

A decade later in Germany, the rigorous voluntary Passivhaus standard was born. In 1990, a group of designers built a row of townhouses as a proof of concept. The row homes encapsulated the standard’s core principles: super-insulation, extreme airtightness and use of passive solar techniques. Passivhaus mandates annual energy limits for heating and cooling (each 15 kWh per square metre of floor area), total energy consumption (120 kWh per square metre of floor area) and air leakage (0.6 air changes per hour). The resulting buildings use up to 90% less energy than conventional ones and require little or no additional heating, beyond that supplied by recycled air, occupants’ body heat, lighting and appliances. How specifically a building meets these performance requirements is up to its designers. (…) 


The Passivhaus-certified home also includes multi-lock triple-pane windows, a 95%-efficient HRV that provides a complete air change every 90 minutes, and a ductless mini-split heat pump. The owners enjoy smaller energy bills, decreased noise and reduced maintenance. They’ve commented on indoor comfort—the consistent temperature and fresh interior air. Principal Alex Maurer credits these gains to Passivhaus’s proprietary design software, which uses thermodynamic modelling calculations to predict heat flow. This enables designers to fine-tune components to meet project design goals and energy objectives. [1]


Vancouver Passive House Planning 

 The City of Vancouver Council has recently adopted a new bylaw fostering the design and construction of Passive House Buildings recognizing their ability to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 90% compared to a standard building. “The goal with this concept is to deliver ultra energy efficient and low maintenance buildings for reasonable construction costs with quick construction time, enjoying maximum comfort. [2]


[1]      Calvet, Stephanie. “Towards a Passive Architecture.” Canadian Architect, July 3, 2019. https://www.canadianarchitect.com/towards-a-passive-architecture/.

[2]     “Passive House Consulting.” Passive House Residence Vancouver – Marken DC. Accessed July 20, 2021. https://markendc.com/passive-house-residence-vancouver.html.

Additional information:

“139. The First Certified Passive House in Saskatchewan.” Green Energy Futures, July 13, 2019. https://www.greenenergyfutures.ca/episode/saskatchewans-first-certified-passive-house.

Besant, Robert W., Robert S. Dumont, and Greg Schoenau. “The Saskatchewan Conservation House: Some Preliminary Performance Results.” Energy and Buildings. Elsevier, February 12, 2003. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/0378778879900318.

“Conservation House: Energy Efficiency Trailblazer.” Efficiency Canada, February 7, 2020. https://www.efficiencycanada.org/saskatchewan-conservation-house/.

Downing, Andrew. “A Closer Look at the Saskatchewan Conservation House and Four Others.” A closer look at the Saskatchewan Conservation House and four others | Saskatchewan Research Council. Accessed July 20, 2021. https://www.src.sk.ca/blog/closer-look-saskatchewan-conservation-house-and-four-others.

“Germany’s ‘Passive Home’ Movement Was Born in Saskatchewan.” CBCnews. CBC/Radio Canada, August 5, 2015. https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatchewan/passive-home-movement-a-success-in-germany-but-not-in-saskatchewan-where-it-started-1.3179851.

“Passive Eco Friendly.” Passive House and Net Zero Design – Marken DC. Accessed July 20, 2021. https://markendc.com/home.html.

“Passive House Consulting.” Passive House Residence Vancouver – Marken DC. Accessed July 20, 2021. https://markendc.com/passive-house-residence-vancouver.html.

Paulsen, Monte. “Step Inside the Real Home of the Future: Passivhaus.” The Tyee. The Tyee, January 25, 2011. https://thetyee.ca/News/2011/01/25/Passivhaus/.

Reynolds, Mike. “The Saskatchewan Conservation House: the Birthplace of Passive House.” Ecohome. Accessed July 20, 2021. https://www.ecohome.net/guides/1422/passive-house-saskatchewan-the-birthplace-of-high-performance-buildings-and-passive-solar-home-design/.

“Saskatchewan Conservation House.” Passipedia. Accessed July 20, 2021. https://passipedia.org/basics/the_passive_house_-_historical_review/poineer_award/saskatchewan_conservation_house.

“South-Surrey-Passivhaus-Marken-Projects-1.” Inhabitat Green Design Innovation Architecture Green Building. Accessed July 20, 2021. https://inhabitat.com/stunning-passive-residence-allows-three-generations-of-canadians-to-lighten-their-environmental-load/south-surrey-passivhaus-marken-projects-1-2/.

Project Title: Saskatchewan Conservation House
Artists:  Harold Orr
Year: 1977

Place: Regina, Saskatchewan

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