Passive House Apartment Block, Peterborough, Ontario

Project Overview

Builder Jason Szakaczi attended CanPHI’s Ottawa training course in early 2015, and was inspired to try for the Passive House Standard on his first commercial-scale project, a 12-unit apartment block in central Peterborough, Ontario. As he says: “Passive House just makes sense: as a landlord for these apartments I can offer far better levels of comfort and indoor air quality to my tenants than they’ll find anywhere else in town”. The thick walls and heavy triple glazed windows will provide a quiet indoor environment. even though the building is located on busy Lansdowne Street. This superinsulated building has 12 apartments, each 1000 ft2 in size, and heating is via the ventilation airstream from a gas boiler. According to PHPP modeling the annual heating cost for this apartment block will be lower than that for an average Peterborough single family house. This will be the first privately-funded apartment building achieving Passive House performance anywhere in Ontario, despite receiving no subsidies or municipal or federal support of any kind.

Construction cost is on schedule to come in at $130/ft2, and according to Szakaczi: “that includes everything, even the storage building: we’re showing that Passive House quality can be achieved in Ontario today for a building this size at an extra cost of just $10 – $15/ft2 over conventional 2×6 builds. There’s opportunity here for any builder who wants to get ahead of the curve and offer their clients a totally superior product “.

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The building is constructed on a superinsulated EPS raft slab at grade, and uses a custom prefabricated double-stud wall system supplied by Green Giant Design Build of Picton, ON. Completion is scheduled for June 2016.

Annual Heating Cost

$539 / yr*

* Or $45 per apartment – assumes total heating demand of 11,977 kWh/year @ 4.5 cents/kWh , with no night setback (PHPP)

See Building Performance Data

Building Performance Data (via PHPP v8.5 modeling)
Gross Floor Area 1176 m2 (12,675 ft2)
Treated Floor Area (TFA) 1040 m2
Specific Annual Heating Demand 11.6 kWh/m2
Annual Heating Demand 11,977 kWh / year
Annual Heating cost $539 / year ($44 per apartment)
Design Heating Load 22,213 Watts
Specific Heating Load 10.7 W/m2
Target Airtightness 0.6 ach @ 50 Pa
Airtightness achieved 0.3 ach @ 50 Pa preliminary
Annual cooling demand 295 kWh/y

See Construction Details

Construction Specs Construction Type U-value (R-value) Manufacturer, Location
Floor slab Superinsulated EPS tray slab 0.123 W/m2K (R-46) Green Giant Design Build, Picton ON
Wall structure Prefabricated I-beam panels w/interior 11mm OSB 0.108 W/m2K (R-53) Green Giant Design Build, Picton ON
Roof structure truss with blown cellulose insulation 0.061 W/m2K (R-93)
Wall Insulation 14" blown cellulose
Roof Insulation 32" blown cellulose
Windows Energyline 85 Gaulhofer via Herrmanns Timberframes
Exterior Door Wood / aluminum 1.0 W/m2K Gaulhofer, Austria
Window Frame uPVC Uf = 0.94 W/m2K Gaulhofer, Austria
Window Glazing Triple 2 x low-e 0.5 W/m2K Saint Gobain
Glazing SHGC (g-value) Solar heat gain coefficient 0.53
Airtightness goal 0.5 ach @ 50 Pa
Airtightness achieved 0.36 ach @ 50 Pa preliminary test
Ventilation system Zehnder/ Comfoair 200 per apartment 92% efficiency Zehnder, supplied by Pinwheel Building Products, St.Catharines ON
Heating System Gas boiler
Heat Distribution system Ventilation air

See Design & Construction Team

Role Person(s) Location Contact
Owner Jason Szakaczi, Vision Design and Construction Bobcaygeon, ON
Architect Nick Swerdfeger Architects Inc. Oshawa, ON
General Contractor Jason Szakaczi, Vision Design and Construction Bobcaygeon, ON
Passive House Designer Malcolm Isaacs, Construction Maison Passive Inc. Wakefield, QC
Prefabricated Building Envelope Supplier Adam Cronk, Green Giant Design Build Inc. Picton, ON
Mechanical Contractors J.D.Hubbert, Toronto and D.G.Biddle, Oshawa Toronto, ON and Oshawa, ON
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