(VIDEO) Passive house brings green option to Oak Bay

In Greater Victoria, buildings are on tour in Oak Bay, Saanich and Victoria on Nov. 12

Lt.-Gov. Judith Guichon (right) and Oak Bay Mayor Nils Jensen peruse a scale model of the passive house construction underway on the community’s first passive house on Byng Street.






Sharon Stoose and Peter Johannknecht open their Oak Bay home this weekend to share a vision with the community.

The Cascadia – their architect company – Passive House is the first of its kind in Oak Bay.

“We’re very excited to have this the first passive house in Oak Bay. The owners have done a tremendous job of designing and building this home. We expect that it will be an example for others to follow in the community,” said Rob Bernhardt, CEO Passive House Canada.

“A passive house is a high-performance building – it’s not necessarily a house, it’s any type of building that offers superior levels of performance in terms of efficiency but also in terms of comfort, indoor air quality, simplicity, low maintenance. It’s able to combine not just performance but affordability because it’s a simple, low-maintenance building with low energy bills.”

Last Thursday, longtime Oak Bay residents Johannknecht, who designed the home, and his wife Sharon Stoose, along with NZ Builders Ltd. – who specialize in energy-efficient and high-performance homes – led Lt. Governor Judith Guichon, Oak Bay Mayor Nils Jensen and neighbours on a tour of their future home.

“It’s a team effort, that’s why these kinds of awareness moments are very important. As you know the international Passive House Days are coming up on the weekend. It’s the first time Canada is participating in those days, which really tells how much of a momentum it actually is receiving within Canada. B.C. certainly is leading,” Johannknecht said.

For International Passive House Days, public tours and presentations take place at passive house buildings across B.C., Ontario and Quebec from Nov. 10 to 13. In Greater Victoria, buildings are on tour in Oak Bay, Saanich and Victoria on Nov. 12.

“That is an event celebrated every year around the world where passive house designers, builders and owners open up the buildings that they have designed and built to the international passive house standards so that members of the public can see what they are, can experience the air quality, the comfort that’s inside a passive house,” Bernhardt said.

Buildings consume up to 40 per cent of global energy use, Johannknecht noted. That means buildings are a key to lowering our carbon emissions.

Passive house is considered the most rigorous, voluntary standard for energy efficiency in a building resulting in ultra-low energy buildings that require little energy for heating or cooling.

While the program is fairly new to Canada, it’s two decades old in Germany, where it originated.

“This is an established, well-respected standard,” Johannknecht said. “The savings of adding insulation and having it airtight … with that high-performing envelope the energy saving are close to 90 per cent.”

Jensen said he hopes passive housing will become the model for Oak Bay and Greater Victoria. “We know at Oak Bay council that energy is big and it is really so connected to greenhouse gases and climate change,” Jensen said. “Anything and everything we can do to reduce greenhouse gases by building houses like this is a huge step forward.”

Passive homes on tour

Greater Victoria Passive House Day tours Saturday, Nov. 12 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

• Open house – Cascadia Passive House, 954 Byng St., Oak Bay

• Open house – North Park Passive House, 860 Queens Ave, Unit #302

• Open house – 2740/42 Fifth St.

• Street-side viewing – Bernhardt Passive House, 1535 Oak Crest Dr.

• Exterior tours: 732 and 734 Mary St.