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Passive House Builds in Whistler

What Is a Passive House?

Passive homes are a growing trend in southern British Columbia, especially in places like Whistler where the temperatures are mild and the climate is ideal for creating incredibly energy-efficient homes. If you’re thinking about building a new home, then you probably have questions about the passive design and how these homes stack up to the traditionally built homes in and around Whistler.

The good news is, these homes aren’t as expensive as you might think! Many assume that extreme energy efficiency must come with an exorbitantly high cost to build, but according to PHIUS, the Passive House Alliance, passive homes only cost between 5% and 10% more than a traditional home—and only 3% more than a home built to Energy Star standards.

So what is a passive house? And where did this trend come from? Find out more below.

Passive Home Benefits

What are Passive Home Design Principles?

Passive home principles are guidelines around which these homes are designed. Following them means builders must account for a given region’s climate in order to create a home that minimizes energy use by minimizing heat gain in the summer and heat loss in the winter through a variety of innovative means. Basic passive design principles include:

  • The elimination of thermal bridging, which is the process through which temperature transfers between one object and the next—like when a door feels hot to the touch indoors because the sun is shining on it from the outside.
  • Continuous insulation throughout the building envelop to create an airtight envelope that stops outdoor air from coming in, and indoor air from escaping.
  • Energy-efficient double or triple panel windows that prevent overheating in warm weather and heat loss in cold weather.
  • Ventilation provides balanced heat and moisture recovery throughout the home to maximize interior comfort.

These guidelines plus others all work together to accomplish several things. They drastically reduce the amount of energy that a home consumes for heating and cooling.

Are Passive Homes Comfortable?

Are Passive Homes Comfortable?

There are a few myths surrounding passive homes—and people wonder whether the airtight building envelope will lead to mold or moisture problems. The truth is that while passive homes do have an extremely airtight building envelope, they also have state-of-the-art ventilation systems designed to not only maintain consistent temperatures but to prevent moisture issues or condensation that could lead to mold.

These homes are known as the most comfortable out there—and that’s because of that airtight envelope. They’re virtually draft-free, and temperatures are consistent everywhere, even near doors and windows.

Why Build a Passive House?

History Behind Passive House Design

While passive homes are only recently becoming a trend, the design concept isn’t a new one. They first entered the building sphere decades ago as a reaction to the OPEC oil embargo. By 1980, Nobelist Dr. William Shurcliff wrote about the passive house. In the U.S., interest in conservation faded, but in Europe, people continued to refine passive house design principles—and that led to the construction of the first PassivHaus in Darmstadt, Germany.

This was in 1990. Since then, interest in passive home design has grown worldwide. One challenge that designers ran into was the temperature extremes found in North America. It took adapting the then-current passive design principles into something capable of standing up to temperatures at extreme ends of the spectrum while offering deep energy savings and consistent interior temperatures year-round. Passive homes became more practical and cost-effective to build, and now, more and more homeowners are looking into these building principles as a way to reduce their carbon footprint while saving costs on energy bills.

Blue Water Concepts: Your Passive Home Building Partner

Blue Water Concepts helps clients in the Whistler area and elsewhere in British Columbia with passive home construction. Let us help you design your next home, and we’ll work hard to create a home exactly to your specifications. You’ll find that we take pride in the work that we do because we are dedicated to creating innovative housing for each and every one of our clients in passive home construction in Whistler.

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