passive house guelph ontario

“Minimize Energy Use” | But How?

The energy use debate is certainly a multifaceted dinner table conversation, rich with differing perspectives, ideas, and nuances.  In much of the world, they learned long ago that you must first reduce consumption, and then you can tackle the other half of the equation (renewable energy sources). In Europe, we see smaller vehicles and the widespread use of geothermal and air-source heat pumps. In Asia, we see high population densities and small apartments. Around the world, we see more robust and durable home construction that lasts generations. These are all examples of a ‘first reduce’ approach. 

In North America, we are very much tied to our standard of living: large vehicles, sprawling homes and communities, and inefficient heating systems. This is predominantly held up on the back of cheap energy bolstered by our abundant natural resources. As a society, we seem caught up on finding new ways to power our current way of life, rather than finding ways to balance that approach with reducing consumption.  

Inevitably, as energy prices increase, our hands will be forced, and we will travel a similar path to the generations before us in other parts of the world like Europe. We have the distinct benefit of looking into that crystal ball and implementing approaches that already exist around the world. It’s not a matter of if, but when. 

Passive House is the culmination of around 50 years of Canadian and German Building science. The theory originated in the 1970s in the Canadian Midwest, while the development of the formal building standard came about in Germany in the 1980s. The Passive House standard represents a revolutionary approach to building design, emphasizing ultra-low energy consumption. Passive House sets the stage for creating low-energy homes that can then be supplemented with constantly innovating forms of renewable energy.

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