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ECO18-13 Passive Houses the Benefits to All

ECO Solutions with Sara Troy and her guest Rob Lyon, on air from March 27th

How much energy and money do we lose in our current homes? way too much to count. With so much innovation out there we do not need to keep building the same old money pit of homes that we have been building. It is time to not only save our own money, but to save our planetary energy resources, or we are facing a very hard tomorrow. When we know that there is something better, it is easier to adapt, adopt and redirect to a home that saves on so many levels. 

Passive House Standard

The passive house standard was developed in Germany about 40 years ago. The goal was to create a comfortable home that was both friendly to the environment and efficient to operate. The standard calls for two main measurable outcomes: an airtight structure of no more than .6 air changes per hour at 50 pascals of pressure; and heating and cooling cost not to exceed 15kw per meter squared. To put this into perspective, the way we build houses today, the average house leaks at a rate of 4 to 6 air changes per hour and costs about 150kw per meter squared. That is a full order of magnitude apart we had a long way to go.

It turns out the way we have been building houses is the wrong way and we can easily build to this standard, gaining a ten times advantage, by applying just a few simple principles. Eliminate thermal bridges, use only tight sealing windows and doors, reduce northern exposed glazing, maximize solar gain in the winter and minimize in the summer, an pay attention to the details.

The revolutionary energy performance of Passive House buildings demands a rigorous and scientific approach to design and construction. Energy performance savings of 80 – 90% (compared to conventional Canadian construction) do not happen by chance.

While Passive House is certainly the world’s most ambitious and verified energy-efficient building standard, most people invest in this type of construction for the higher quality of living.

The many benefits of Passive House construction over regular Canadian Building Code construction include:

  1. Much better indoor air quality – comfortable humidity levels, low CO2 levels because of comfort ventilation, with optimum ventilation flowrates calculated for each room

  2. Increased thermal comfort – the highest level of interior comfort of any building, with all surfaces equally warm (including the windows), no drafts (ever), no setbacks, no temperature swings

  3. Superior sound insulation – extraordinary airtightness levels, triple-pane glass and thick insulation also provide superior sound insulation – Passive Houses are very quiet indoors!

  4. Almost-unbelievable energy efficiency – 80-90% better than standard construction, with simply no need for a conventional heating system

  5. More durable –  detailed and advanced design, better building components, proven building science

  6. Almost no maintenance – very simple mechanical systems compared to normal construction

  7. Resilient – the most resilient construction standard anywhere, which maintains livable conditions even during power or fuel outages, relies very little on any mechanical systems

  8. Sustainable – because of very low energy consumption and durable construction

  9. Versatile – Passive Houses can be built in any climate zone and applied to any building type, utilizing a wide variety of building materials and methods

  10. Internationally embraced – already over 40,000 units in more than 35 different countries … with numbers growing rapidly from China to Abu Dhabi to Alaska.




Rob Lyon: Growing up as the son of a baker I could think of nothing more in life than going to work each day and eating cakes and cookies but my real love I discovered in high school was physics. I went to university to study physics but switched to computer science and fell in love all over again. Then I discovered the military. What a game changer that was. I joined the Navy as a junior officer and started sailing the seven seas. Soon I was a weapons officer and that meant missiles. I put my computer science background to work and for the next twenty years programmed missile control systems, I was a rocket scientist! It’s all about the software, the chemistry hasn’t changed in 40 years. I also got married, had 5 children, and completed a Masters Degree in Digital Technologies.

I am a passionate person who has always stayed busy. I loved my children and became a scoutmaster, volunteering for 20 years serving in Cubs, Scouts, and Ventures. About 15 years ago I started building houses. About  3 years ago I started studying building science and 1 year ago I learned about the Passive House standard; I had a new passion.

So now as I embark on my final?? career, I will build my first passive house for my wife and I and look forward to sharing that knowledge and experience through my company Pacific Passive House. I am 57.


Here is an example of a Pacific Passive House

Energy trusses

Rob Lyon

For More shows on how to serve this planet GO HERE 



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