Rob Bernhardt is also president of Canadian Passive House Institute (CanPHI).
"You can get to all of your other sustainability goals by tackling the energy efficiency first," he
The Passive House standard's primary focus on energy efficiency means it doesn't compare directly to standards such as LEED or GreenBuild
says, but neither are they competitors.
should know; he
lives with his
wife, two sons and parents in what they hope will be Vancouver Island's first Passive House, a duplex built by his
company. (They're currently waiting for certification.)
"You pay a little bit extra at the outset but by day one you're paying less on your utility bills," says Bernhardt
figures that the additional cost on his
family's monthly mortgage payments is more than offset in savings on his
energy and maintenance bills. (Passive House Cost Comparison)
Energy efficient building technique offers better comfort and few drawbacks
says there are other reasons to consider a Passive House
"We started doing this because of the energy efficiency and now that we've actually lived in it, it's the comfort that motivates us," he
are also quieter than conventional homes, with little noise from outside because of the high quality windows and thick walls.
As for drawbacks, there aren't many, according to Bernhardt
, other than a function-first approach.
You're unlikely to find items such as fireplaces, as most aren't energy efficient enough to meet the rigid Passive House standards.
"There's no reason to have a fireplace because you're not cold," he
Interest in better building is infectious
says although there's a market for single-family homes, he's
"We are currently applying to the City of Victoria for a development permit for a six-plex.
We see developers very interested in economical high performance developments.
"With larger projects we achieve economies of scale that make this not just environmentally sustainable, but more economically sustainable as well."
says the interest in building better is infectious.
Although Passive House building-envelope design requires less in the way of mechanical systems, Bernhardt
has found mechanical companies are not concerned about a drop in business.
"They're really keen to get into the science of this and try it, because it does make for a more comfortable living environment and there are certain techniques that are unique to building a Passive House