High Performance Design

High Performance Design in Calgary

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We live in a tough climate.

The other day I was wearing shorts in 10+ degrees, now we’re facing -20 degrees. The temperature swings are crazy, especially for our homes; there are temperature changes, humidity differences, wind, and direct sunlight that all affect our indoor comforts.
We’ve seen some gradual changes in the building code over the last decade and we’ll be seeing some remarkable changes over the next decade as we aim for tightening of the building envelope and counter-acting rising energy consumption. These steps are already actively in place in British Columbia however, to a point, we’re falling behind in Alberta.

BC Building Step Code


Builders and Brews hosted an educational evening in partnership with Passive Buildings Canada.
It was a collaborative session supported by Zip Systems, SkyFire Energy, Ecosynergy, Huber Engineered Woods, AeroBarrier and Screaming Toller beer.

We saw some prime examples of passive house buildings included Scott Subaru’s dealership in Red Deer – likely the only Passive House standard dealership. We also joined SkyFire Energy on the utilisation of solar panels in Alberta climates, and finally we shared the experiences of EcoSynergy and the conversion of a 90’s home into a net-zero home. These were great presentations by forward-thinking companies who want to bring about positive change with the current housing stock.

This brings me to my point, according to Statcan[1] there are 558,910 private dwellings that have been built from pre-1960’s to 2016. A significant portion of them have been built before the year 2012. That means they were built under the previous building code. I live in one these houses in Southwood, and I fully appreciate that renovating is expensive, but every time my heating turns on I’m reminded of the need to adapt to our Alberta climate – all I hear is $$$ falling out of my wallet.

There are several solutions out there to ‘green’ up your existing home, starting with a designer who understands the costs and the difficulties should be a first step. We have plenty of experience in working out complicated details for creating off-grid cabins, net-zero ready new homes or simply increasing the efficiency of your family home. And to top it off, there are highly skilled contractors out there who are willing to build the difficult details and achieve your dream.

James Stobie
M.Sc in Low Carbon Building Design
C. 587-834-5240

[1] https://www12.statcan.gc.ca/census-recensement/2016/dp-pd/prof/details/page.cfm?Lang=E&Geo1=ER&Code1=4830&Geo2=PR&Code2=48&SearchText=Calgary&SearchType=Begins&SearchPR=01&B1=Housing&TABID=1&type=0