Materials & Technology

Building specialist notes energy efficient building is not just for the affluent

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 08:58

Following the completion of a "Passive Energy House" in Whistler, British Columbia, the man behind the project noted that this type of construction is not only for the very rich, as families with less money can actually save through long-term energy cost cuts.

According to a release from the Whistler Price Restricted House Initiative, the variety of green and sustainable technologies that were used in the construction of the house will allow for 90 percent less energy usage than a comparable residence without these products. This helps to reduce electricity bills and limits the negative impact of the home on the environment.

"One of the major hesitations associated with ultra low energy buildings is the construction costs," said Alex Maurer, director of Marken Projects and a leading expert in Passive House Design and Planning. "We wanted to show that building sustainably isn’t only for the affluent. With a little innovation homes can be both energy efficient and affordable."

This type of passive house construction began in Germany in the late 1980s, as residents of several cities game together in order to create a plan for homes that would require less energy, something that was modeled in Whistler.

"Affordability and energy efficiency are both core to our long-term sustainability strategy in Whistler," said the city's mayor.

One of the key components of the house is its use of radiant heating. Some radiant heating products like Warmboard systems help to reduce the total energy consumption for a residence through the use of innovative technology such as highly-conductive aluminum tubing.

This helps to reduce the amount of energy required to pump heat into a home, lowering the heating costs while still keeping a family warm during winter months.