First multi-family passive house development in Squamish set to break ground this summer

The eight TarsemHaus townhomes will use up to 90 per cent less energy than traditional homes, say developers

Two Squamish developers are hoping a new project will help some homebuyers reduce both their ecological footprint and hydro bills.

Tyler and Loren Ovington of LTO Developments are hoping to break ground this summer on TarsemHaus, the first multi-family "passive house" development in Squamish. The development would include eight townhomes with three to four bedrooms each at 1009 Aspen Road.

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Passive houses use up to 90 per cent less energy than a typical Canadian house, primarily by creating a tightly-sealed building envelope and focusing on insulation, according to the Passive House Canada. To achieve these energy-saving goals, the builders create well-insulated floors, walls and roofs, and triple-glazed windows to pull in and retain heat from the sun.

The Squamish developers say they want to "push the boundaries" and create something new for to-be homeowners in Squamish.

"I think this passive house construction will be successful no matter where it is being done, and I think we're all going to see a shift toward this type of construction in the coming years," Tyler said. "It's just gradually catching on. People realize that they can build a little bit differently which is going to save them a lot in the long run."

The main heating source of these homes is generated by sunlight coming through the windows, and the warm air being distributed around the home with a heat-recovery ventilation system.

When the sun isn't out, that system uses human body heat — heat generated from appliances, or the built-in electric heaters for, especially chilly days.

But being well-sealed doesn't mean re-using stagnant air; these buildings introduce fresh air from outside through high-efficiency ventilation while still retaining heat.

And while homeowners will have to pay more up-front, the developers say the reduced energy consumption will help recover some of those costs over time with consistently low heat and electricity bills.

Construction is expected to start in early July and the townhomes will be completed by the summer or early fall of 2019.

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Source: Submitted rendering

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