EkoBuilt’s demonstration PassiveHouse was built in 2016 on a 10-acre property just west of Ottawa.
The project has been a great opportunity to show people the fundamental simplicity of the PassiveHouse concept – a house built with the latest technologies, but easy to build and operate.
We have now continued blogging about the house, passive house technologies, and other home energy efficient issues at our parent site, EkoBuilt.com.
About our Ottawa PassiveHouse
The site in McNab/Braeside was chosen for its size, simplicity and character.
Size – at 10 acres, no land is wasted. The site has the perfect dimensions for the EkoBuilt office, family home and yard, including sustainable agriculture components.
Simplicity – this piece of vacant, undeveloped agricultural land provides an opportunity for EkoBuilt to create an example of its vision for sustainable development and living.
Character – the challenging triangularly-shaped property got our creative juices going, demanding originality and creativity, the staples of EkoBuilt’s existence. The rear border of the property provides an interesting feature, with the historically significant discontinued CN Railway line. The south-facing home and east/west railway complement each other, with the railway reminding us of the sustainable past.
Design on the house started by conceptualizing design aesthetics to suit the property, but also considering how best to minimize developmental impact.
Aesthetics – The shape of the home, with two lower wings and the second floor in the centre reflects the rolling hills of the property.
Developmental impact – To reduce developmental impact, the house’s size was reduced without sacrificing comfort and integrity, and a number of core principles were followed to minimize the home’s footprint:
- The CAGBC (Canadian Green Building Council) has benchmarks for home size depending on the number of occupants, and for a 4-bedroom home that benchmark is 3,000 total square feet. EkoModel ‘s square footage is 2509 which would receive 4 LEED points for being 491 square feet under the benchmark, comfortably sized for the built environment.
- Once the floor-plan was produced, heights were optimized to meet PassiveHouse SA : V (surface area-to-volume ratio) of 0.75.
- Keeping with a minimalistic approach to construction, we chose to install a low slope roof system free of dormers and valleys; this approach is cost-effective, simple to construct, and problem-free, designed to last indefinitely.
- Materials and systems were chosen with the following priorities: performance, durability, low-maintenance, local, recycled content, renewable.
- Apart from materials, the house is designed to be environmentally sound by consuming little energy and having a high-degree of albedo (reflectivity), minimizing the heat island effect by choosing light colours for exterior siding and roofing materials.