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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.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.