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B.C. funds CanPHI West to support conservation goals

March 6, 2015 – British Columbia’s provincial government has announced it will provide $100,000 to the Canadian Passive House Institute (CanPHI) West to help take the province’s goal of increased electricity conservation up to the next level.


March 6, 2015
By Renée Francoeur

Minister of Energy and Mines Bill Bennett made the announcement recently at the North Park Passive House—a six-unit condominium project under construction in Victoria and the first market condominium in Canada being built to international Passive House building standards.

“Ultra-efficient new homes and buildings lower electricity bills for consumers by reducing their energy use and keep rates low by avoiding the need to build new generation facilities,” said Bennett. “This funding will reduce electricity demand helping BC Hydro achieve its goal to meet 78% of new demand through conservation by 2020.”

The grant—from the province’s Innovative Clean Energy (ICE) Fund—will help sponsor and subsidize introductory or certification courses in Passive House design principles offered by CanPHI West for up to 200 qualified professionals in B.C.

The international Passive House standard is the one of the “most rigorous and advanced building performance standards in the world, achieving reductions in heating energy of up to 90% compared to other buildings,” said the province.

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Passive House design principles focus mostly on enhancing the building envelope with thicker walls and additional insulation, and include the most energy-efficient ventilation systems, doors and windows on the market. Combined, it is said these measures reduce energy costs for homeowners, contribute to decreased provincial energy demand and also contribute to the province’s greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets.

The province noted that while the Passive House system of construction is now typical for new construction in Europe, it is not yet well-understood by architects, engineers and builders in Canada and requires specialized training and experience.

CanPHI West is a membership based not-for-profit corporation dedicated to providing Canadians with the knowledge and tools to design and construct buildings meeting the international Passive House Standard. It offers a selection of specialized courses to architects, engineers, tradespeople, planners and homeowners in Passive House design and construction.

“As the architect for the North Park multi-unit residential Passive House project in Victoria I found that completing the one-week training course offered by CanPHI West was an essential first step,” said Adam Fawkes, an architect with Hughes, Condon, Marler Architects. “The Passive House standard is based on sound building science that can be applied to almost any building type. I foresee that Passive House will contribute to the improvement of the building stock in B.C. similar to the market transformation benefits that we have seen with LEED.”

PHOTO 1: B.C.’s Minister of Energy and Mines Bill Bennett tours the North Park Passive House in Victoria.

PHOTO 2: The North Park Passive House is a six-unit condominium project under construction in Victoria and the first market condominium in Canada being built to international Passive House building standards. (Photos BC Government)