Single Family Home, Wolfe Island, Ontario

Project Overview

This 3-bedroom Passive House is being constructed on Wolfe Island, a 20 minute ferry ride from downtown Kingston, Ontario, and was designed by local architect Mikaela Hughes, who attended CanPHI’s Passive House design course in 2011, but hadn’t yet had the chance to work on a full Passive House. The clients wanted an ecological house to replace their drafty, poorly insulated old home on the island. The building site (next to the existing house) offered good solar gains and the decision to aim at the highest standards – all the way to Passive House performance – was quickly established as a design priority. Other standards (eg LEED) were also considered, but they offered no practical benefits in terms of comfort and energy performance.

Originally a SIP panel approach was considered, but the clients decided to use imported CLT and wood fibre board, as supplied from Germany by Construction Maison Passive Inc. of Wakefield, QC. This company supplied all parts of the thermal envelope, including the custom superinsulated foundation tray, and Passive House-Certified solid wood windows from Optiwin, Austria.

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As shown in the time-lapse video, construction of the building shell took under 3 days, with all interior walls and ceilings already finished, and most of the air sealing complete. Exterior insulation is thick wood fibre board, with the base layer 240mm in thickness (10″), the upper 40mm. This translates to a highly simplified construction process, with just 3 layers in the wall -compared to many highly insulated houses, which can have 8 to 10 layers. Completion is scheduled for Fall 2016.

For more information and details on this project see the client’s ongoing blog:

Annual Heating Cost

$176 / yr*

* 2071 kWh per year at 8 cents/kWh Ontario off-peak residential rate, with no night setback. Passive Houses can always use off-peak power for heating, due to their exceptionally long time constants (i.e. slow rate of cooling)

See Building Performance Data

Building Performance Data (via PHPP modeling)  
Gross Floor Area 1850 ft2
Treated Floor Area (TFA) 154 m2
Specific Annual Heating Demand 14.2 kWh/m2
Annual Heating demand 2190 kWh / year
Annual Heating cost $186 / year - electricity
Design Heating Load 1860 Watts
Specific Heating Load 12.1 W/m2
Target Airtightness 0.4 ach @ 50 Pa
Airtightness achieved under construction
Annual cooling cost zero

See Construction Details

Building Details Construction Type U-value (R-value) Manufacturer, Location
Floor slab Superinsulated EPS tray slab 0.089 W/m2K (R-64) StyroRail, Wakefield QC
Wall structure 100mm, 4-layer cross-Laminated timber (CLT) 0.13 W/m2K (R-43) Merk Timber, Germany
Roof structure 130mm, 5-layer Cross-Laminated timber (CLT) 0.13 W/m2K (R-46) Merk Timber, Germany
Wall insulation Wood fibre board 280mm Schneiderholz, Germany
Roof Insulation Wood fibre board 280mm Schneiderholz, Germany
Window type Optiwin Resista (Passive House Certified 2015) Optiwin, Austria
Window Frame Fir / Thermally treated spruce 0.72 W/m2K Optiwin, Austria
Window Glazing Saint Gobain triple low-e/argon 0.5 W/m2K Saint Gobain
Airtightness goal : 0.4 ach @ 50 Pa
Ventilation system Zehnder 200 92% efficiency Zehnder
Heating System/ Hot Water Wood-Electric-Solar thermal Waltherm NS
Combi system with 500 litre heat storage

See Design & Construction Team

Role Person Location Email
Architect Mikaela Hughes Hughes Downey Architects, Kingston ON
3-D Modeling + CLT structure Tomaz Stich, Stich Passive Design Invermere BC
Passive House Design Malcolm Isaacs, Construction Maison Passive Inc. Wakefield QC
Builder Chris Van Der Zwan, New Leaf Custom Homes Kingston, ON
Building Envelope Supplier Construction Maison Passive Inc. Wakefield QC