A home without a furnace?

the house you can heat with a hair dryer

Passive houses” are popping up in Ottawa — proof of a concept that’s taking off worldwide. They are beautiful, comfortable homes. They also happen to use a tiny fraction the energy of conventional homes. They’re affordable — but ready to weather energy hikes and climate change alike.

So why aren’t more people building them? “Home buyers buy the finishings, not the home”, say the builders. In other words, the typical buyer is more likely to be sold on granite countertops, than on a properly built home. When it comes to new homes, we’re colour blind. We continue to build cold little boxes that are becoming nothing less than death traps, in the face of a changing world.

Choosing a passive house:

  • is much more comfortable than other homes
  • is comfortable and resilient in all weather — from deep freezes to heat waves
  • saves money year after year
  • saves energy, year after year
  • reduces ghg emissions
  • is slightly more expensive to build, but pays for itself in energy savings

In many parts of the world, building codes already stipulate that only passive houses can be built.

Will we continue to be distracted by shiny countertops, locking us into a cold, unsustainable future? Or will we wake up and get up with the times?

Passive houses in and near Ottawa:

Resources:

Passive House Canada — national non-profit organization advancing a green building standard in Canada/ “Our mission is to make the International Passive House standard of building performance understood, achievable, and adopted by government, industry, professionals, and homeowners across Canada through education, advocacy, events, and building projects.” passivehousecanada.com

“Comfort is key in a passive house — Passive homes are the height of energy efficiency, but getting average owners to buy in to the extra cost remains a tough sell.” (Ottawa Citizen)

Canadian Green Building Council (many shades of green including Passive House cagbc.org

Green Building and Environmental Jobs

Author: Peter Blanchard

Founder and coordinator.

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