Global Solutions House

Simple design a model for Aging-in-Place affordability

Designed and built as an Aging-in-Place affordable housing model with the possibility for a secondary suite, the Passive E House will serve in part as a demonstration home by having its energy performance monitored over the coming years.

BY CODY SMITH

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We designed the house for affordability, technical repeatability, accessibility, conservation, and environmentally-preferable products and practices. The Passive E House is a LEED-registered project with a Platinum target that is also an Energy Star qualified home achieving an Energuide Rating of 91. The Net-Zero ready home has also integrated NRCan’s Solar Ready guidelines and has been certified in accordance with the Passive House Principles.

A simple design along with the local sourcing of labour and materials helped to keep construction affordable and left money for value-added sustainability features including passive solar and solar-ready design, increased insulation, and a roof structure built to accommodate photovoltaic and solar thermal panels.

Construction
Permanent foam forms were fabricated prior to pouring concrete for footings, and insulated concrete form [ICF] construction was used from the footings to the eaves. We feel that ICF construction provides consistent thermal breaks, reduces vulnerabilities for air leakage, increases construction efficiency, reduces noise pollution, and delivers a higher level of comfort for the building occupants while optimizing the overall building performance and durability.

As this project was designed and constructed according to the Passive House principles, increased insulation, air tightness and passive solar design were major components of the build. With exterior walls performing at an R-value of 50, R-99 in the attic, R-32 under-slab, an average air tightness of 0.365 @ 50 Pascals, and the majority of triple-paned windows facing south, these, along with other passive design strategies allowed us to scale down the heating and cooling equipment which typically demand active energy.

MATERIALS

  • Insulated concrete form [ICF] construction from the footings to the eaves, with an exterior layer of rigid foam insulatioin finsihed with stucco, cellulose insulation blown into attic.
  • Triple-glazed fibergtlass frame windows.
  • Heating and ventilation consists of a heat pump, heat recovery ventilator [HRV], a hot water boiler, and a ground loop connected to a Water-to-Air Coil exchanger that pre-conditions supply air for the HRV.
  • Recover grey water recycling system by Canplas for toilet flushing.
  • Red oak flooring and basswood trim milled from local site trees.

PROJECT CREDITS

  • Developer Global Sustainable Solutions
  • Designer Passive House E-Design
  • General contractor Global Sustainable Solutions
  • Electrical Contractor Simcoe County Contracting
  • Supervisor Gerry Asselin Contracting
  • Photos Megh Pie Photography

Cody Smith is president of Global Sustainable Solutions.