CEO Letter – May 2023

Our annual conference in Hamilton last week was not only praised for its excellent content and networking opportunities, it also proved once again what a great community we are part of. I hope you were able to attend. We had more people, more presentations, more networking and more sponsors than ever before. We left energized and ready to push on with our work to decarbonize building across Canada. I especially want to thank the Passive House Canada team who worked tirelessly for many months to bring us this top-notch conference. 

Folks came from across Canada and around the world to the event. An impressive 450 people gathered online and in person – an indicator of the remarkable growth of our community. We want to thank some of our notable attendees: Parliamentary Secretary Julie Dabrusin, who set the tone for the conference with an optimistic keynote; Councillor Esther Pauls, who brought greetings from the City of Hamilton to open our conference; Dario Liguti from the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), who provided in-depth perspectives on global progress on targeting emissions in buildings; and Scott Foster from the Enniscorthy Forum, who enlightened us with news of an exciting collaboration for widescale adoption of Passive House equivalent building.  

Together with our American colleagues at the Passive House Network, we announced a joint initiative called the Building Performance Assurance Council (BPAC). BPAC will help with the scale-up of the construction, retrofit and verification of buildings to outcome levels identified by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), United Nations (UN), and resulting government legislation necessary to get our countries to the Paris Agreement targets.  

BPAC will support existing standards rather than create new ones. While energy efficiency is the first standard in its library, other standards and tools that might be added could include embodied carbon, indoor air quality, measurement and verification, and even financial analysis. 

While both groups agreed that a brand-neutral approach was required, BPAC recognizes the international Passive House level of energy efficiency is identified by UN agencies, the IPCC and the International Energy Agency as the base level of efficiency required to meet Paris Agreement targets. Accordingly, that is the energy efficiency standard BPAC will advocate for.  

At the core of the operation is a database to provide our stakeholders with the outcomes-based, real-time data on buildings they require. The database is in the early stages of design and we look forward to releasing details in the months ahead for your feedback. 

This new initiative will help to affordably scale high-performance building is transformative. Please visit BPAC’s newly launched website and send us your feedback. The PHC/PHN joint announcement is just the beginning of a dialogue with the building community to help ensure we get it right. 

Our three-day event ended with a bus tour of Passive House buildings in Hamilton, including the Putman Family YWCA mixed-use affordable housing project; the mixed use /affordable housing 500 James North Baptist church; the Ken Soble Tower retrofit project; the Coronation Park Apartments affordable housing retrofit; and finally, the King William modular affordable housing project, which is in the process of being craned. Thank you to the organizations for being so welcoming and for letting dozens of feet trod your new floors. 

Thanks once again to the city of Hamilton for hosting us, and to all our speakers for sharing their knowledge to grow our own. Conference videos are available free of charge for the next 90 days to all attendees, at which time we’ll open them to a wider audience for a nominal fee. 

I close by thanking our program committee, our Board and all the staff and volunteers who helped make this year’s conference a roaring success. We look forward to announcing the location of next year’s conference in the days ahead.