Denver, CO – PHIUS 2012 North American Passive House Conference – Sept. 27, 2012 – With a target of being North America’s largest commercial Passive House (Passiv Haus) building, Le Belvédère special events center is nearing completion in Wakefield, Quebec. The Certified Passive House Consultant on the ambitious sustainable building project is Homesol’s President Ross Elliott. He is presenting the project case study this weekend at the seventh annual North American Passive House Conference in Denver, CO.
Passive House design represents the world’s highest energy standard for residential and commercial construction, and delivers energy cost reductions of up to 90 per cent with construction costs that are usually no more than 10 per cent higher than conventional building. With capacity for 150 dinner guests, the high-ceiling 8,000 square foot special events facility has an interior volume of 150,000 cubic feet – equivalent to a 15,000 square foot house – nearly six times larger than the average American home built in 2011.
Elliott predicts Le Belvédère will have an annual electric heating bill as low as $600.
A Canadian Homebuilders Association (CHBA) member, Elliott wants to provoke building industry policy makers to aim higher, like Le Belvédère, for achievable cold-climate efficiency. “Le Belvédère is located about a half-hour outside Ottawa, Canada’s national capital, which features winter temperatures colder than Moscow, Russia. And yet we’re very confident we’re going to meet or exceed the Passive House standard,” he says. “I challenge CHBA and any other North American homebuilder’s association to tell its members why we’re still building houses to lowest common denominator standards while ecosystems are being decimated, wars are being fought and lives lost over energy security.”
“The simple truth,” says Elliott, “is that our industry can build better houses right now, and most certainly before 2030,” when he believes the national standard for home building should be scheduled to meet Passive House for all new buildings. Le Belvédère achieved a Canadian standard EnerGuide Rating of 95, which is approximately 90 per cent better than current Canadian standard building code.
Built on a challenging rock outcrop overlooking the majesty of Quebec’s Gatineau Hills, Le Belvédère’s wedding, meeting and corporate events facility incorporates state-of-the-art construction techniques and ultra energy-efficient mechanical systems to reach its goal of Passive House certification. For example, the building’s entire concrete slab, footings and foundation are insulated with 12 inches of polystyrene insulation. Pre-fabricated walls, floors, interior partitions and trusses were delivered to and quickly assembled on-site, sealed airtight and fully insulated to avoid any thermal bridging.
Brian Fewster, Le Belvédère’s visionary owner, chose to pursue Passive House certification without hesitation: “For about 10 per cent more in building costs, I’ll recoup my money in 10 to 12 years. If energy prices go up, my return on investment is quicker. On this project everything was negotiable, except Passive House certification.”
Le Belvédère has the following energy-saving features:
• R100 cellulose (recycled newspaper) attic insulation, twice the 2012 building code
• 18 inch thick, R71 walls (insulated with rock wool)
• European Passive House triple glazed wood windows
• Cold weather Mitsubishi air source heat pump for heating and cooling
• Less than 0.5 ACH50 air-tightness, about seven times tighter than typical new construction
• Custom built 2,200 cfm enthalpy recovery ventilator (ERV) with 90%+ heat recovery
• Recovered heat from cooling systems recycled for hot water
• LED lighting throughout, which alone will save an estimated $4,000 per year on hydro-electricity costs
Ross Elliott has a 30-year career as an energy auditor, carpenter and homebuilder. His company verifies approximately 1,200 buildings a year to R-2000, Energy Star, LEED and Passive House standards. As a Certified Passive House Consultant, Elliott has earned professional qualifications from both the Passive House Institute of the United States and the Passivhaus Institute in Germany.
About Homesol Building Solutions Inc.
Driven by a personal and professional commitment to sustainability, Homesol Building Solutions Inc. is Eastern Ontario’s leading provider of residential energy design consulting services for contractors and homeowners. Founded by Ross Elliott in 1999, Homesol and its team’s passion for low-carbon living have established the company as the real deal in the world of residential energy efficiency. With over 30 years experience as an energy evaluator, green rater, contractor, consultant, designer and trainer, Ross qualified as an energy auditor in 1980 and provides verification services for R2000, ENERGY STAR®, LEED, and Passive House. For more information, www.homesol.ca
About Le Belvédère
Le Belvédère is a wedding, meeting and specials events center located 30 minutes north of Ottawa, just outside the bustling town of Wakefield, Quebec. Le Belvédère hosts groups up to 150 persons in a stunning, modern building with state-of-the-art facilities. For more information: www.le-belvedere.ca.