Family in N.S. Build Their Dream Passive House

Published on December 06, 2018

Family in N.S. Build Their Dream Passive House

Phil Dennis, previously a mechanical engineer in the space industry, has undertaken the design and construction of a 1,800 square foot home for his family to live in, which will be built to Passive House standards.


In 2013, Dennis studied with the German Passive House Institute to certify himself to their standards, and he also took courses offered by Efficiency Nova Scotia to further educate himself on Passive House construction and design.


Using this knowledge, and his research on Passive Houses, Dennis was able to start his own consulting business for building science and engineering, which he has called Gaspereau Building Science.


Although the program has now run its course, Dennis was also able to capitalize on Efficiency Nova Scotia’s Passive House pilot program, which had the intention of helping Nova Scotia adopt Passive House building standards.


A Passive House is a home that is built to such high standards of energy efficiency that it requires very minimal energy to maintain a desirable interior temperature.


Natasha Brooks, the Program Manager for New Home Construction at Efficiency Nova Scotia, said that Dennis’ home is so well designed and built that it is only costing him about $100 a year in heating costs.


“Phil’s project by far… had some of the highest savings based on the square footage of his home,” said Brooks.


She explains that although a 15,000 btu heat pump is the main source of heat in Dennis’ home - just like what is used in many other homes today - the difference in his energy savings come from how efficient and airtight his home’s building envelope is.


Dennis says that Passive Houses are all about affordability, and that reducing energy usage is the only thing we have control over in that regard.


Reducing Home Energy Usage

Improving your home’s energy efficiency can not only help your home become more affordable to live in, it can also help to increase its value, its interior comfort level, and its air quality. By having a Home Energy Assessment conducted by one of our Registered Energy Advisors, you can be made aware just how efficient your home is, and our advisors will present you with a list of possible energy saving solutions for you to consider - ranked in order of cost effectiveness.


This means that you will be able to see all the different ways that your home can become more efficient and work to save you money on utility bills, allowing you to choose which methods are the best fit for your needs. Our advisors are also able to show you your expected energy and cost savings for each suggested energy saving solution, and are happy to answer any questions you may have about your home’s energy usage.

To make it even easier for you to see a return on your efficiency improving investments, a Home Energy Assessment can also help both Enbridge and Union Gas customers qualify for any of the home renovation rebates that they currently offer.

The Canada Greener Homes Grant offers home efficiency renovation grants up to $5,000.

Homeowners Canada-wide are eligible for the Canada Greener Homes Grant, announced on May 27, 2021. This new incentive offers up to $5,000 in grants for home efficiency retrofit renovations, plus a $600 reimbursement for pre- and post-work EnerGuide evaluations. Eligible retrofit scopes include home insulation, heating, doors, windows, photovoltaic solar panels, resiliency measures, and thermostats.

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