Posted on February 18, 2016 by Catherine Ruddell in Guest Blogs
Editor's note: Canada's northernmost certified PassivhausA residential building construction standard requiring very low levels of air leakage, very high levels of insulation, and windows with a very low U-factor. Developed in the early 1990s by Bo Adamson and Wolfgang Feist, the standard is now promoted by the Passivhaus Institut in Darmstadt, Germany. To meet the standard, a home must have an infiltration rate no greater than 0.60 AC/H @ 50 pascals, a maximum annual heating energy use of 15 kWh per square meter (4,755 Btu per square foot), a maximum annual cooling energy use of 15 kWh per square meter (1.39 kWh per square foot), and maximum source energy use for all purposes of 120 kWh per square meter (11.1 kWh per square foot). The standard recommends, but does not require, a maximum design heating load of 10 W per square meter and windows with a maximum U-factor of 0.14. The Passivhaus standard was developed for buildings in central and northern Europe; efforts are underway to clarify the best techniques to achieve the standard for buildings in hot climates. is an 1,895-square-foot home in Fort St. John, British Columbia, where the average number of heating degree days over the last five years has been more than 10,500 annually. The house, completed in 2014, is owned by the city and was described in a Green Building Advisor report in 2014. For more than a year, the house has been occupied by two caretakers, Catherine Ruddell and Paul Gillis, who act as hosts for tours of the project. Catherine recently sent this report of what it's been like to live there.