Recently I had the pleasure to see Bjørn Kierulf of Createrra Architects in Slovakia, give a presentation at BUILDEX Vancouver, about Passive Houses built with natural materials.
Natural Passive House
Driven by the desire to build Passive Houses as natural as possible, Bjørn Kierulf is building certified Passive Houses with straw panels, wood, cellulose insulation and clay plaster.
The main reason for wanting to use as many natural materials as possible, is because these would be non-toxic, and in todays building world toxicity is rampant.
Bjørn pointed out that in 1900 only 50 building materials were available on the market, while today there are more than 50,000 building materials, of which only 43% are tested for toxicity(!).
As well, he reasoned that clay plaster is a superior finishing product as it:
1. requires no chemical bonding,
2. controls humidity by its ability to absorb @>50% and desorb @<50%
3. and it’s creative!
Innovation Through Collaboration
Driven by the need for more economic, innovative components, Bjørn also collaborated with local product manufacturers to develop high performance windows, high efficiency HRV units and structural straw panels.
[Images used with permission from Createrra Architects]
It is my pleasure to announce that I received certification as Passive House Designer today!
To receive this Certification I had to pass a stringent test set out by the International Passive House Institute in Germany, covering all aspects of Passive House Design and Construction, including mechanical installations and financing.
Read more about Passive House Designer certification here.
Recently I designed this Gym for a couple of professional athletes that had moved from Calgary, where they lived around the corner of one the biggest work-out centres in North America, to Kaslo (pop. 1000) with only one small fitness centre – and it’s ladies only!
Every 2 years they compete in polynesian rowing races for which he needs to upkeep their strength and stamina, so it is important to them to have access to exercise equipment on a daily basis.
How would you like to work out in this gym?
The PV panels generate electricity while you get buff!
Kaslo Passive House construction has reached lock-up – the house in enclosed. The walls are up, the roof is on and the doors and windows are installed. The house is weather tight – Let winter come!
South facade with lots of windows.
South-west view with the covered entrance to the basement on the left.
South-east view. The air-lock entry, on the right, is outside the heated envelope.
North-east view. Note the angle between the main house and the entry. The main house is facing due south, while the entries and trellis align with the street grid.
North facade. Note the few small windows.
Kaslo Passive House wrapped up.
Posted in Passive House, Small House Design, Sustainable Building, Uncategorized
Tagged Construction, extreme energy savings, Kaslo BC, Low Environmental Impact, low-energy, net-zero building, Passive House, timber frame home
This fall I built a new shed for my horse at the house we are renting in the Cowichan Valley.
It only took me 4 days and about $700… Stickframe construction is definitely fast and economical!
Not as pretty as a timber frame structure, but the horse doesn’t seem to care
– I’ll post some picture of the timberframe shed I built in Kaslo soon.-
After all, this is a temporary building, as I’m renting at the moment.
The shed is designed and build so that you can relatively easily take it apart and move it.
Actually, the neighbour across the road has already offered to buy it when we have to move again
Our dog Shagga keeps me company.
3 wall panels ready to go.
My neighbour came along and helped me raise the walls.
And the roof is on!
- just in time for the rain
Being frugal I bought only 3 sheets of 3/8″ plywood, which covered most of the 2 walls. I used some plywood (white and red) that was laying around to fill the gaps – and add some colour interest at the same time.
My horse Strootje is happy to try it out.
I didn’t plan on adding a 3rd wall, but I figured it would help cutting out the wind, so I salvaged some boards from the burn pile and build a 1/2 wall on the right side.
I covered up the gaps below the wall with some more salvaged boards.Et voilà: c’est fini! (finished)
Good news for the energy conservation movement: the Number of certified Passive House square metres has reached one million!
Read more in this news release form the International Passive House Institute.
Interestingly, this certified Passive House is a retrofitted 1922 arts and crafts style home in California, proving that it is possible to upgrade the existing building stock in North America to Passive House energy efficiency standard, preserving the embodied energy that is in these building and preserving our cultural heritage.
The people at Midori house didn’t stop after implementing Passive House energy conservation measurements. They also installed a solar hot water system and implemented water conservation measurements.
Read more about the Midori house at Greenspiration and at their own Midori Haus Blog.
Innotech Windows and Doors featured the Ridge on their blog, including a great photo gallery created by Raven Eye Photography. Check it out here!
This fall Ecocentric Design relocated to Vancouver Island!
We’ve moved to Glenora, near Duncan, in the Cowichan Valley, halfway between Nanaimo and Victoria.
We’re looking forward to Building Sustainable Dreams on Vancouver Island!
Find our updated contact info here.