CEO Letter – February

Passive House Canada CEO Chris Ballard

Hello everyone,

Exciting news from Passive House Canada as we warmly invite you to join us for the annual Passive House Canada Conference 2024 – By Design! Transform the Built Environment. This event is scheduled June 17-19 at the University of Victoria. We’re thrilled to be returning to Victoria, British Columbia, the birthplace of Passive House Canada, to celebrate the strides our community has made in Passive House and high-performance design. 

For 2024, we’re offering a unique twist: the chance to immerse yourself in university life. The conference will be held on campus, allowing attendees to experience firsthand the comforts of a brand-new Passive House student residence. It’s the largest Passive House project in Canada and boasts the largest commercial kitchen constructed to Passive House standards in North America. With this conference, we’ll have extensive learning, engaging and interactive sessions during the day, and the opportunity to kickback at night in Passive House comfort.

This year’s conference is set to showcase the latest breakthroughs and evolutionary advancements in high-performance building, explore the dynamic interaction between policy and practical implementation, and emphasize the importance of integrating ecological thinking into high-performance buildings. 

Find out more about sponsorship opportunities and to stay up to date on early bird tickets, call for speakers and program details through our newsletter and conference website. We hope to see you there! 

Energy Efficiency Left Behind 

You may have heard the federal Greener Homes Grant has stopped accepting applications as the government transitions to a new home energy retrofit program. While early reports indicate the new program will offer significant benefits, it is a shame the current program wasn’t continued until a new program could be put in place. The cancellation has ended the plans of homeowners and energy auditors. The energy efficiency industry has been down this “feast or famine” road for too long, members need predictable funding over longer horizons. Energy efficiency is the cheapest power plant we can build, yet governments across Canada spend billions on new energy mega projects but too often treat efficiency as an afterthought. (Those in the Passive House community know our battle cry: Efficiency First!)  

At Passive House Canada, we’ve always believed that initiatives like the Greener Homes Grant are headed in the right direction, but Canada needs to exponentially increase its financial investment and significantly strengthen its policies and programs to successfully achieve our climate targets. We’ve recommended that the federal and provincial governments develop a sliding scale approach to increases the rebates, depending on what building owners install. For example, insulate your attic and receive a 15 per cent rebate, but insulate and seal your house, install high-performance windows and install improved ventilation and receive a 75 per cent rebate. Incentivize the near net-zero retrofit to boost climate mitigation and resilience.  

Currently, the incentive is too small to significantly lower the cost barrier to incentivize homeowners to retrofit their homes beyond those who would likely have done the insulation regardless of the incentive.  

Beyond Energy Efficiency 

The Pembina Institute released a report called Beyond Energy Efficiency – Deep retrofits save more than just money, supporting what Passive House Canada has advocated for many years about retrofits. It’s not just about saving money, it’s also about the total cost of building ownership, health and comfort, affordability, emissions reduction, and climate adaptation. We agree with the report’s call for creating targeted policies and support for fuel switching and efficiency improvements to address energy poverty, setting targets for decarbonizing and adapting homes to extreme weather, supporting industry capacity growth, and providing workforce opportunities for equity-deserving groups. Passive House Canada support this vision with our training, events, and advocacy.  

I look forward to seeing you at the conference and discussing how we can transform the built environment, together!