Affordable Passive House in Whistler

This is an ultra-efficient project that recently broke ground in Whistler, British Columbia.  It’s interesting and innovative on many different levels.  First, the Whistler Passive House Duplex has to meet affordability requirements as part of the Whistler Resident Housing Initiative.  Second, the project team is pursuing Passive House for both homes.  Third, the project will be built with a unique panelized prefabricated wall system.

In other words, this is one of those rare times when several progressive strategies (i.e., affordability, sustainability, and prefabrication) overlap in one building.  It was designed by Vancouver-based Marken Projects and will be built by Dürfeld Constructors, the former GC of the Austrian Olympic Passive House in Whistler.

Dürfeld established a new facility to make the large panels that will be incorporated in the project.  Exterior walls, interior floors, and the roof panels will be built and assembled — kind of like this Hanse Haus — with wood, insulation, windows, and siding already installed.

I haven’t seen the panel or how it is assembled, but Alexander Maurer, Director of Marken Projects, said they will have blown-in cellulose or rock wool insulation with Optiwin windows.

Using the prefab panels, each home was designed to use up to 90% less energy for heating, cooling, and building operations than a standard home.  Green features include solar hot water, rainwater harvesting, cross laminated timber decking, a high efficiency heat recovery system with a subsoil heat exchanger, and drain water heat recovery.

The project should be complete by late fall 2011, according to Maurer.  I will follow up then with more detail on the panel system and hopefully some photos of the completed Whistler Passive House Duplex.

Credit: Marken Projects.

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  • weeHouse by Alchemy

     Looks cool. Nice to hear that the construction company responded to the special needs of the longer panels.

    • Benjamin Freeman

      I see many prefab outfits toss the “affordable word” out there but in reality it’s not affordable unless your rich or the government.  

      • Preston

        If you want the good stuff — i.e. the best work of skilled architects and talented builders — you pay for it.  This is innovation and leading edge work; it doesn’t come cheap.  So what would you suggest?

        • Wojtek


          My name is Wojtek Stefanczyk and I am the owner of Timberlog Passive. We have the production based in Poland. We manufacture homes in many technologies, among which, the prefabricated passive homes are my favorite. I came to realize that homes in USA, especially those that feature R value at least 40 are pretty expensive.

          About the houses I offer:

          Like I said before, we prefabricate the modules. We use insulated wooden frame (it is insulated so forget about thermal bridges) + wood fibre insulation (fibre glass was good 10 years ago). The R value of my external walls starts at 50, BUT like I said before, since we use wood fibre insulation we also deal with thermal mass. So the R 50 really gets you to R 60+.

          I oppose to accept this widely present thinking that the passive house has to be expensive. I am not going to throw prices here, however I am pretty surprised that you guys has to pay so much for those fine houses over there.

          I am looking for open minded people that are interested in handling distribution of our homes in USA. You can reach me at


        • Rktgrl


        • Rktgrl


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