Passive housing takes action in Nelson

Lukas Armstrong, principal and designer at Cover Architectural Collaborative Inc. - Tamara Hynd
Lukas Armstrong, principal and designer at Cover Architectural Collaborative Inc.
— image credit: Tamara Hynd

Cover Architectural Collaborative Inc. designs residential homes and commercial buildings and spaces but they also design Passive Houses, known for their energy efficiently.

The architecture firm based in Nelson received a grant from FortisBC and the provincial government to be used towards construction of a structure with Passive House design.

One hundred thousand dollars is remaining in the grant and Cover is looking for a client that will fit the grant guidelines.

While the parameters are narrow, the benefits are broad. Passive House designs are so energy efficient they immediately start to pay for themselves. Eighty per cent more efficient than the standard built home, Cover principal and designer Lukas Armstrong said the 10 per cent cost premium can be solved through efficient design.

A home with an efficient floor plan can be 10 per cent smaller yet more livable if designed well.

“Through good design we are able to create a home that is superior quality for the same budget through efficient space planning,” Armstrong said.

Why is a Passive House more efficient?

Armstrong said the walls are approximately three times thicker than a conventional home. The windows are also set back from the exterior surface wall.

The seams in the structure are taped to create an air tight home. The airtight construction is balanced with a very high efficiency heat recovery ventilation system for healthy air quality.

Cover has had 10 interested parties thus far from all over the province. A major component to the success of a home built to the Passive House criteria is the lot needs to have exposure to the sun in the winter.

Cover is looking for a lot owner with financing in place for development. If an owner already has building plans, Armstrong said Cover can evolve them to meet Passive House criteria.

The property must not require any variances or rezoning. The project can be two single family homes, a duplex, or a part of a larger complex. Projects must be able to start construction within eight weeks and be complete by April 15.

Cover also designs regular home and commercial projects.

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