Project Specs

Location: Minden, Ontario
Climate Zone: Cold
Building Type: Single Family Residential
Project Phase: Certified
Certification Type: Passive House Classic
Year of Construction: 2022
Gross Floor Area (m2): 195
Treated Floor Area (m2): 120
PHPP Verification: Download

Project Description

Commissioned by a professor of art history supportive of contemporary architecture, the project brief was to design a beautiful, inscrutable house with the highest level of sustainability.

The house is conceived as an eloquent sculptural object nestled in the woods. A simple trapezoidal volume is lofted between two vernacular gable elevations of varying proportion and unified by a singular cladding. The apparent simplicity of the massing is belied by the hyperbolic paraboloid roof. The resultant form subverts idealized residential references with dynamic perspective effects, creating an experience that is at once familiar and surprising.

Entering through the dark north facade starkly contrasts with the warm, luminous double-height living space inside. The extensively glazed south and west facades provide expansive
views through the trees to the lake while serving as the principal engine of the structure’s passive heating and cooling.

Achieving the highest level of sustainability meant eliminating GHG emissions. This led to a prohibition on fossil fuel combustion on site and the pursuit of Passive House certification. The design team used WBLCA models to optimize material specification and minimize carbon over the building’s entire lifecycle.
A digitally fabricated mass timber structure was sourced from Austria to achieve the unique geometry of the building and contribute to the sustainability goals. Incorporating timber engineers into the team gave the designers complete control over the building geometry and interior finish quality, both of which were critical to the architectural success of the project.

Careful detailing of the 0.85m-thick façade, with continuous SIGA membranes, dense-pack cellulose insulation, and ultra-high-performance EnerSIGN windows imported from Germany (avg installed u-value 0.57 W/m²K) contributed to achieving Passive House certification.

Key Performance Metrics:
TEUI 26 kWh/m2a
TEDI 8.9 kWh/m2a
GHGI 1.1 kgCO2e/m2a
Airtightness: 0.21 ACH @50Pa
Embodied Carbon 41 kgCO2e/m2

Thermal Envelope

Exterior Wall: Mass Timber Panel, with 24" of cellulose in a larsen truss. Cladding was metal shingles.
U-value = 0.065 W/(m2K)
Basement Floor/Floor Slab: Raft slab of 24" of EPS with concrete topping.
U-value = 0.055 W/(m2K)
Roof: Tongue and Groove wood exposed ceiling with 24" of Cellulose and metal shingle cladding.
U-value = 0.069 W/(m2K)
Window: Frame:
ENERsign, EnerSign PRIMUS
Wood Aluminium Frames. Both fixed and operable.
External Moveable shading included as part of the window install.
U w-value = 0.67 W/(m2K)

Neutralux Advance/Argon/Clear/Argon/Neutralux Advance
U g-value = 0.52 W/(m2K)
g -value =53%

Entrance door
EnerSign certified wood aluminium frames with EPS filled panel.
U d-value = 0.58 W/(m2K)

Mechanical System

Ventilation: Zehnder, ComfoAir 200
Ventilation with HRV with home run ducting.
Heating/Cooling: Post heater after HRV in ventilation with additional Heat Pump to provide additional heating as required. Heat Pump can also provide cooling in summer if desired.

Project has external venetian shades to reduce overheating in summer.
Domestic Hot Water: Instantaneous Electric Hot Water heater in mechanical room with very short hot water runs.