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September 10, 2018

Passive building key to one Coquitlam townhouse complex development


Judging from architectural renderings, a new residential development planned for the 600-block of Foster Avenue in Coquitlam looks like a typical townhouse project.

But Scott Kennedy, one of the architects behind the development, said residents will realize how unique their home is when they receive their hydro bills. 

That’s because the project is designed to new Passive House standards and will consume 90% less heating and cooling energy than conventional buildings.

It is the first project of its kind in the Tri-Cities and one of only a handful to recently receive approvals in Metro Vancouver.

“They are very comfortable buildings,” he said in an interview with The Tri-City News. “They don’t leak any air in or out.”

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Passive House is an international standard for energy efficiency that starts with the building envelope. 

Kennedy said the walls and floors at the Foster Avenue development will be thicker to accommodate larger quantities of insulation. The buildings will also feature high-quality windows and will be as air-tight as possible, preventing any leakage. 

Filtered air is supplied to all of the living spaces — primarily the living room and bedrooms — while air from the wet areas, like the kitchen and bathroom, is extracted, Kennedy said. This means temperatures remain stable year-round throughout the home and residents receive excellent air quality, he said.

This is not the first time Kennedy and his company, Cornerstone Architecture, has been involved in developing a Passive House. Earlier this year, an 85-unit market rental building in Vancouver called The Heights opened at Skeena and Hastings streets near Boundary Road, billed as the largest mixed-use complex built to Passive House standards in Canada.

But Kennedy noted that the designs are becoming more common and new projects already approved will surpass The Heights in size by the end of the year. 

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