Adam Fawkes

Adam Fawkes

HOMEFINDER: Energy efficient building to cut heating costs by 90 per cent

The North Park Passive House is the first of its kind to go on the market in Canada

A house without a furnace or air conditioning, yet is the perfect temperature year-round may sound unbelievable, but in an air-tight, energy efficient passive house, it is possible.

In 2013, Rob and Mark Bernhardt, father-son developer and contractor duo, built a custom passive house for themselves and their family.

Now, they are building the first one to go on the market.

The North Park Passive House, located at 860 Queens Ave., Victoria, is Canada’s first multi-unit strata project built to the passive house standard. The house contains six separate units.

It is expected to cut heating costs by 90 per cent through its added insulation and design.

“A passive house essentially uses about 10 per cent of the heat of a normal house to heat it,” said Adam Fawkes, architect with Hughes Condon Marler Architects.

Passive houses are made with the same type of insulation as normal houses, only with more than double the amount, as well as insulation under the floors.

This added insulation helps to keep the house warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer.

“In a typical house, you might spend about $12,000 on the furnace and all the duct work,” said Fawkes. “So you take that $12,000, and you put it towards a little bit of insulation. The mortgage is less than the savings on the heating bills. So in the end, instead of paying into the heating bill, you’re paying into the mortgage.”

The cost of building a passive house is comparable to the average cost of building a conventional house, said Mark.

North Park Passive House will have cost around $1 million by the time it is completed in August.

Along with more insulation, the passive house is also fitted with triple-glazed windows, which help to prevent heat loss.

While there is no furnace, all six units in the North Park Passive House will have heated tile floors in the bathrooms along with a small electric radiant panel in the kitchen.

“Together, those two will produce about 668 watts of heat on average per unit,” said Mark. “Most people have hair driers bigger than that.”

In the house, there is a heat recovery ventilator that mixes the heat around through the unit through air flow. The heat recovery ventilator uses about 30 watts and runs all day and night, but it only costs a few dollars a month to run, said Mark.

“The heating bill for each unit ends up being about $58 for the entire year.”

Besides lower heating bills, another major benefit is the comfort level.

“They are so dramatically more comfortable, it’s really even hard to describe how much more comfortable is it than a normal building,” said Mark. “It’s like walking around in a warm hug.”

Since the building is so air tight and there is even airflow, there are no cold spots or drafts anywhere in the house.

“You can stand by a gigantic window on the coldest day of the year and be comfortable without a sweater on.”

For more information, please go online to bernhardtcontracting.com/northpark

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Victoria police are asking for help locating Izabel Villeneuve, 14, who was last seen Jan. 19. (Courtesy of Victoria Police Department)
Victoria police seek help locating missing 14-year-old

Izabel Villeneuve was last seen in the morning of Jan. 19

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the legislature, Jan. 11, 2021. (B.C. government)
Vancouver Island smashes COVID-19 high: 47 new cases in a day

Blowing past previous records, Vancouver Island is not matching B.C.s downward trend

The Boys and Girls Club of Greater Victoria says sale of the planned subdivision will increase the club’s ability to provide services and support. (Courtesy of Association for the Protection of Rural Metchosin)
Victoria Boys and Girls Club says youth would benefit from Metchosin land sale

Club says sale will guarantee supports and programs at time when demand high

Jan. 21 marks the 21st day of the 21st year of the 21st century, according to some. (Black Press Media file photo)
The 21st day of the 21st year of the 21st century is upon us – maybe

Milestone won’t be back for another 100 years

Environment Canada is forecasting snow for the east Vancouver Island region the weekend of Jan. 23. (Black Press file)
Up to 15 cm of snow forecast for Vancouver Island this weekend

Snow on Malahat to begin Saturday night, according to Environment Canada

Businesses continue to struggle under COVID-19 restrictions as the pandemic reaches the one-year mark. (B.C. government)
Another 564 COVID-19 cases, mass vaccine plan coming Friday

15 more deaths, community cluster declared in Williams Lake

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Jan. 19

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

A specialized RCMP team is investigating a suspicious trailer, which might have connections to the illicit drug trade, found abandoned outside a Cache Creek motel. (Photo credit: <em>Journal</em> files)
Police probe U-Haul trailer linked to illicit drugs left outside Cache Creek motel

Hazardous materials found inside believed to be consistent with the production of illicit drugs

Premier John Horgan leaves the podium following his first press conference of the year as he comments on various questions from the media in the Press Gallery at B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Monday, January 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Interprovincial travel restrictions a no-go, Horgan says after reviewing legal options

The B.C. NDP government sought legal advice as concerns of travel continue

Gem Lake Top, at Big White Ski Resort, seen at Jan. 8. (Big White Ski Resort)
Big White cancels $7.3M in lift tickets, accommodations due to COVID-19 orders

Since November, the ski resort has been forced to make several changes

Darlene Curylo scratched a $3M ticket, BCLC’s largest ever scratch and win prize. (BCLC)
Kelowna woman in shock after winning BCLC’s largest-ever instant-ticket prize

Darlene Curylo couldn’t believe her eyes when she saw the amount of money she’d won from a scratch ticket

While each person has different reasons for becoming homeless, a UBCO study shows they learn through their interactions with different services to perform ‘as homeless’ based on the expectations of service providers. (Contributed)
Kelowna homeless forced to ‘perform’ for resources, says UBCO study

One participant in the study said ‘It is about looking homeless, but not too homeless’

Aquaculture employee from Vancouver Island, Michelle, poses with a comment that she received on social media. Facebook group Women in Canadian Salmon Farming started an online campaign #enoughisenough to highlight the harassment they were facing online after debates about Discovery Islands fish farms intensified on social media. (Submitted photo)
Female aquaculture employees report online bullying, say divisive debate has turned sexist

Vancouver Island’s female aquaculture employees start #enoughisenough to address misogynistic comments aimed at them

Most Read