Friday, April 17, 2009

Who wants to know more about Passive House construction?

Mark your calendars!

Malcolm Isaacs (our Passive House consultant) will be giving a public lecture on Passive Housing in his home village of Wakefield, Quebec on Tuesday May 5th at 7:30PM.

This will be about 1.5 hours long with questions and probably including an exhibit from Thermotech Windows, and will be held at the famous Black Sheep Inn, no less.

My husband and I plan on attending (we live about 1hour away). We think this might be a useful backgrounder for us since Malcolm told us he will be including a lot of pictures and technical information. I would love to meet some of you who are reading my blog, so come out to meet us! This is a free event and no reservations are needed!

Here is Malcolm's bio:

Malcolm Isaacs is establishing himself as a technical authority on ultra low-energy building design and construction in Canada, and he now specializes in application of the Passive House Standard, by far the world´s most ambitious and most verified building performance standard. A Professional Engineer who has worked in residential energy analysis, conservation and construction for the past 20 years, he is a graduate of the University of Ottawa.

Like many Canadians, Mr.Isaacs has grown tired of waiting for any signs of intelligent life in national and regional policies to promote sustainability, and of the lack of courage and integrity at all political levels to address the shoddy construction practices and development patterns which are clearly anything but sustainable, yet which enrich developers and speculators in all parts of the country – at the future expense of all of us.

In 2004 he travelled extensively through northern Europe researching building practices which might truly be called sustainable, and visited the Passive House Institute in Germany for the first time. As a `Green´ building professional it was astonishing to discover that even the best Canadian building practices are literally decades behind the Passive House approach, with this gap in quality getting wider every year as more and more European manufacturers, building professionals and municipalities align themselves with Passive House-quality construction and push each other to develop and refine components, policies and practices.

Pictures of Malcolm's super efficient house can be found on Flickr

In 2005/6 Mr.Isaacs designed and built the first house in Canada to these specifications in Wakefield, Quebec (in which he presently lives), and since then he has worked on developing his knowledge and expertise of this extraordinary and cutting-edge building standard.

It is now known – albeit not widely - that not only are Passive Houses proven to use 80 – 90% less heating and cooling energy (in any climate) than conventional Code construction, they also provide far better comfort and indoor air quality, and since they use simple technology and do not depend on expensive renewable energy systems they can actually be the cheapest houses to build if all costs are taken into account by a homeowner.

As a founding member of the North American Passive House Alliance, Mr. Isaacs’ professional focus is now on developing affordable, appropriate applications of low-energy design in Canada, and he is working with local architects and building partners to eventually offer a full Passive House design and construction service for the growing number of Canadian clients presently searching for vastly improved energy and environmental performance in new and retrofit construction.


  1. I bet that will be an interesting lecture...with those energy savings it seems crazy that everyone isn't asking for this type of building. I guess the answer is most likely people just don't know it's there. I'm glad you are planing a home this way.

  2. I think what is crazy is that this is a completely unknown building standard here in Canada! You would think that we are all looking for comfortable homes that stay warm in the winter. Unfortunately, that's just not something you can figure out when buying a house. By having this house certified as a Passive House, we hope to help inform people in our region of this building possibility.

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