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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