New Affordable Housing in Ottawa Meets the International Passive House Standard
A first-of-its-kind multi-unit housing residence was recently built in Ottawa. The project has set an outstanding example for future developments while meeting the need for affordable housing. The Salus Clementine development shows that it’s feasible for affordable housing to be high quality, low impact and leading edge on environmental sustainability.
The 42-unit apartment building is located on Clementine Boulevard near Billings Bridge and it will serve adults with mental illness. The building also is geared to support ambitious environmental goals through the application of the Passive House design standard. This is a first for affordable housing in North America.
The apartment building hasn’t yet received its certifications but is applying for LEED for Homes Platinum Certification as well as Passive House certification, the strictest environmental energy efficiency standard in the world.
Anthony Leaning, Principal Architect at CSV Architects recently shared his insights on the project with us. He highlighted that the heating cost for the entire building will be similar to that for a neighbouring detached single family home. This is a result of the design and construction which greatly reduces the energy load for the building. Leaning pointed out that other municipalities are interested in the design and he predicts that this approach will soon be widely adopted across the country.
The passive house approach uses several key techniques to enormously reduce energy loads for heating and cooling, including high performance windows, walls, roofs and ventilation. The design includes thick insulation, tightly sealed doors and windows and a heat recovery ventilator that circulates fresh air into the building, while recovering heat from exhaust air. The apartments are estimated to be up to 90 per cent more efficient to heat than regular buildings.
The incentive to build these units to be so efficient was not just for environmental gain – the charitable organization will significantly save on utility costs.
This new development is a great example and will be a model for future developments in this region and across the country.