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Neighbourhood Envy Halifax Passive House

The Passive House That Has Halifax Talking

By Wayne Groszko Rise Renewable Energy Expert
May 11, 2017

What would happen if you built the most energy-efficient new home available in the neighborhood, and put it up for sale right beside regular new homes? That’s what Natalie Leonard of Passive Design Solutions has done in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. Her goal is to prove that a Passive House will sell in an ordinary new neighborhood.

Halifax Passive House Passive Design Solutions
Halifax Passive House. Photo Credit: Passive Design Solutions

Passive House Basics

Passive House is the most energy-efficient home design standard in the world. Drawing inspiration from Saskatchewan, Canada, and developed to science in Germany, Passive House has now come home to North America on a wave of desire to save energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The basic principle of Passive House is - insulate, insulate, insulate! The extra money spent on insulation is saved by needing only tiny heating equipment and getting only tiny energy bills.

Halifax Passive House Passive Design Solutions
Passive House Kitchen. Photo Credit: Passive Design Solutions

A Halifax Experiment with Passive Design Solutions

This lovely new home on Hadley Crescent, heated with one mini-split heat pump, will have a heating bill of less than $250 per year. Its neighbors will spend just over $1400 per year on heat alone. Add in the savings on air conditioning in the summer, super-efficient appliances like a heat pump hot water tank, and the Passive House is ahead on total energy savings by over $2,400 per year.

The catch? It cost about $15,000 extra to build. But you know what? The savings on energy (~$200/month) are greater than the extra cost on a mortgage (~$90/month). You save $110 a month to live in this Passive House! We can't say it any clearer. Oh, and there are three other benefits of this home you will appreciate:

Halifax Passive House Bedroom. Photo Credit: Passive Design Solutions
Halifax Passive House Bedroom. Photo Credit: Passive Design Solutions

What Are The Benefits of a Passive House?

  1. It’s super-comfortable - no cold spots or drafts - you can sit comfy right next to the window in winter;
  2. Speaking of sitting by the window - the window sills are really wide - you, your kids, your cat, your plants, everything can sit up there. It’s because the walls are so thick;
  3. This house cannot freeze - even if the power goes out for days. In a house this well insulated, the sunlight coming in the windows is enough energy to keep it above freezing, even on a cloudy winter day, virtually eliminating the risk of freeze damage to water systems. There should be an insurance discount for that!
Halifax Passive House Bedroom. Photo Credit: Passive Design Solutions
Halifax Passive House Kitchen: Photo Credit: Passive Design Solutions

Details

  • Built: 2017
  • Floor Area: 2,460 sq. ft.
  • Total annual energy bill $1600 per year, of which $250 for heat.
  • Indoor garage
  • Ready for future solar electricity
Passive House Bathroom. Photo Credit: Passive Design Solutions
Passive House Bathroom. Photo Credit: Passive Design Solutions

Why We Love It

  • Beautiful open concept main floor
  • Sunny upstairs flex space
  • Magnificent wide window sills
  • Heat pump water heater
  • Marvelously low energy bills
Disclaimer: This article does not constitute a product endorsement however Rise does reserve the right to recommend relevant products based on the articles content to provide a more comprehensive experience for the reader.Last Modified: 2023-11-14T13:17:34+0000
Wayne Groszko

Article by:

Wayne Groszko

Wayne Groszko is a consultant, researcher, and teacher in Energy Sustainability with 13 years of experience. He has taught at Dalhousie University and the Nova Scotia Community College, in the Faculties of Engineering, Environmental Science, and Energy Sustainability Engineering Technology. Wayne is also President of the Community Energy Cooperative of New Brunswick, and has worked as Renewable Energy Coordinator with the Ecology Action Centre in Nova Scotia. He holds a B.Sc. (Hon.) from the University of Calgary, and a Ph.D. from Dalhousie University.