Passive House retrofit is becoming a viable and increasingly common option in Europe, especially for low-rise apartment buildings. Canadian houses are generally built without good passive design characteristics:
- They often have inefficient shapes (i.e. high area to volume ratios).
- They’re generally not oriented towards the sun or they experience significant winter shading.
- They may have a lot of north-facing glass as well as serious thermal bridges, and their interior layouts may be difficult to change.
- Often a significant part of the value of the house may be invested in exterior brick or stonework, making re-insulation from the exterior non-viable.
So, although it can be possible to dramatically cut the energy consumption of a house or building, perhaps close to Passive House levels, it may not be cost-effective to do so, depending on the state, shape, size and age of the house.
For the EnerPHit Standard criteria, visit Passive House Canada.
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