For every great project you need a great team!
The times of the universal “Baumeister” of the middle ages, who was the designer, the engineer, the contractor and craftsman on site are long gone. So even a quite small project like mine, needs the the input of many different disciplines.
I have a created a new page to list all the consultants involved and I am sure there will be more companies added, once I move ahead with construction in the spring.
The last advent calendar post!
Personally I am looking forward to taking a break for a few days and spending time with my family. Comes January I will hopefully get a building permit and start serious conversation with contractors and suppliers. And once construction starts I hope to shift my blog from more theoretical rants to hands-on experience and construction photos!
Thank you for following me and my blog and please keep sharing, liking and commenting.
I wish everyone a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and all the best for 2017!
As we all start to wind down for a few days off, I thought I give you some ideas for your Xmas reading:
The Passive House Brochure – Active for more comfort: Passive House an informational booklet published by the International Passive House Association
Passivhaus: an Introduction and Why choose Passivhaus, both published by Passivhaus Trust – the UK Passive House Organization.
At a dinner party a while ago, one of the guests started asking me about what I do, my job and what project I am currently working on. So of course, the conversation turned towards energy efficient buildings and how much more could be done here in Canada. Well, my guest was not agreeing with me – that would be way to expensive to build such high quality buildings and there would be no way anyone could still afford to construct anything. And that whole climate change thing might not be happening anytime soon….
But then he went on to ask me how the building code addresses the fact that Ottawa is in a seismic zone and earth quakes could happen anytime. I was happy to tell him that in 2006 there was a big change in the Ontario Building Code to improve the seismic performance of our buildings in the event of an earthquake. This of course results often in more expansive foundation design, thicker columns and shear walls, more steel reinforcing and so on. And makes the construction more expensive!
The latest update of the Ontario Building Code in 2012 made big changes to address the accessibility of our buildings for everyone – that means for example wider doors, more clearances in barrier free washrooms, more elevators and the new Universal Washroom, that has to be provided in every new building over a certain size. I think you can agree with me, that this adds cost to the construction.
Strangely this never came up in discussion on construction budgets with any of my clients. No one ever questioned those changes and the necessity of adjusting the design and construction of our buildings to make them safer or more accessible.
Which tells me that if we as a society decide to improve our build environment – we can do it. So if we accept that climate change is here and happening then the question is not can we afford passive house – the question really becomes can we afford NOT to do passive house.
In the November issue of the “Canadian Architect” magazine, Douglas MacLeod argues there is an urgent need for architects to come together and improve energy efficiency in buildings.
I couldn’t agree more!
One issue he raises is that it is very hard to predict how buildings are performing “A 2014 study, entitled Do our Green Buildings Perform as Intended?, studied nine green buildings from across Canada. In three of those buildings, the actual performance (in terms of kWh/m2/yr) was significantly worse (by a quarter or more) than the predicted performance.”
That is were I am NOT in agreement with this article – with Passive House we exactly know how the building will perform! 25 years of experience with numerous completed buildings that have been monitored over extended periods of time, we can be very confident, that a building designed and build to the passive house standard performs exactly as predicted. The energy efficiency of the passive house standard has been confirmed by measurements in practice over and over again and is well documented by the Passive House Institute.
The great thing with social media – you can reach people everywhere ! I made a new friend through this blog on the other side of the world in New Zealand. He is writing a great blog on passive house, highly recommended. His writing is a bit (a lot) better than mine and you can find many interesting posts on his website.
Architect? Get into Passivhaus
Today I am sharing one of his posts – addressed at architects…
Does your family watch a movie on Friday night? Here is an idea for you, Passive Passion is a 22-minute documentary that examines the Passive House standard for buildings – a design method that results in 90% reductions in the energy needed for heating and cooling.
“Charlie Hoxie is a filmmaker and video editor based in Brooklyn, NY. His work has been nominated for two New York Emmy awards and he won a NY Emmy for a profile he made of Guatemalan-American artist Carlos Pinto. Other works have been featured as a Vimeo Staff Pick and screened at film festivals all around this globe.”
One of the things I like about passive house is that it comes from Germany. No surprise here. I have been living in Canada for over 10 years now, but of course everything German is close to my heart.
We often have so called “lunch and learn” in our office, where we get a free presentations from a sales representative over a also free lunch. They are always interesting, sometimes excellent and we learn a lot about new flooring materials, facade cladding products, new cool glass for windows, curtain wall system, waterproofing membranes, green roofs….you get the idea. So we usually all listen attentively, are in awe about the possibilities with one of our current projects, and then we start talking about Germany. Why? Because often the product was developed in Germany or we see some really cool photos of buildings and they are located in …Germany!
So why is “German engineering” or “European design” such a quality attribute? Yes, this is certainly true for the car makers – as someone commented on my post on windows : the BMW of windows – German cars are great to drive and a real status symbol.
But all these other things too? Before leaving Germany and living somewhere else, I wasn’t particularly aware of this. I took all my German products and building materials for granted. Building buildings the North American way is certainly different than in Germany, but unfortunately it is very hard to achieve the passive house without importing windows, HRVs, sealing tapes, CLT panels, even insulation from Europe. So hopefully with an increase in demand, the North American market will adapt and high quality building products will become more readily available.
One of the reasons I went to architecture school was that I could draw….and I didn’t have to write too much. So here are my latest elevations for your to look at – without many words – you can judge for yourself.
I have to admit 24 posts in 24 days are quite the project. Not to mention that Christmas is around the corner, with the need to come up with ideas for presents, planning for the holidays and maybe even baking some cookies. So today I let Adam Cohen do the work for me again with a great video explaining the passive house metrics.