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Urban Renewal, 21st Century Style

Urban Renewal, 21st Century Style

By Wayne Groszko Rise Renewable Energy Expert
Mar 27, 2017

There are plenty of great reasons to want to live in a historic urban neighborhood like New Edinburgh, in Ottawa – short commutes to work and school, easy access to every service you could want, and space for you (and the kids!) to play in gorgeous parks with big trees along the Rideau River.

Kitchen peninsula

So how do you live in a great neighborhood like that, in a super-energy-efficient home designed for you? That’s what Chris Straka of VERT Design has achieved, by building this Passive House at the back of an existing building. There used to be a garage here, but now the parking space is under the deck and a family of four lives in this inspiring and warm home.

Sun room

The designers hit two big home runs in the green certification world – LEED for Homes Platinum, and Passive House US (PHIUS). That means this home is built with sustainability in mind and has a jaw-droppingly low energy bill.


The heating costs less than $150 for an entire winter. If you’ve never spent a winter in Ottawa, trust me it’s cold outside. But not inside! This place has R-70, two-foot-thick walls, triple-glazed windows, and impenetrable airtightness. You can sit nice and cozy, right next to the window, and admire the snowstorm outside. And when the hot summer comes, it’s easy to keep cool too, as the same insulation and systems do their summer duty.


  • Built: 2016
  • Square Footage: 1,900 sqft
  • Parking under cover of the deck
  • 2 patios - one of them on the roof!


  • Building in an existing heritage neighborhood conserves land
  • Spacious open concept main floor
  • Beautiful wood floors and siding
  • Astonishingly 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: 2020-06-23T18:32:54+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.