Future Forward: Innovations in Passive House and Beyond is the theme for this year’s Passive House Canada (PHC) annual conference, taking place in Hamilton, Ont. from May 8 to 10. The title highlights the pressing need to address climate change through improved building processes, as pressure simultaneously grows to increase the availability of housing in Canada.
“We are at the crossroads of climate change and the housing crisis,” PHC CEO Chris Ballard told the Daily Commercial News. “This year we wanted the Passive House Canada Conference to act as the map by which we can see where we are now and where we need to go next.”
It seems fitting the conference should be held in Hamilton.
The city is a leader in terms of commitment to Passive House development. Several projects have been built to Passive House standards in Hamilton over the past few years. Notable among these is the city-owned Ken Soble Tower, an 18-storey, post-war seniors’ residence. It’s North America’s largest Passive House tower retrofit. The city has followed up with plans to build new social housing to Passive House standards in Jamesville, a mixed-income community in Hamilton’s north end.
Other agencies have also joined in. The Putman Family YWCA 50-unit affordable housing and community centre is an example. The YWCA has also committed to the redevelopment of its Ottawa Street property in the east end of the city, again to Passive House standards.
The 2023 conference will provide a forum for developers, builders, designers, organizations, manufacturers and companies from across North America, said Ballard. Together they will share, learn and better understand where policy and the building industry are today and where they are headed in the future. The objective is to come away with the tools needed to accelerate towards net-zero and low carbon building in ways that are quick, easy and cost-effective.
Panel session speakers over the three days include: Dario Liguti, director in the sustainable energy division with the United Nations Economic Commission of Europe; Corey Diamond, executive director of Efficiency Canada; Jerome Bilodeau, director in the Office of Energy Efficiency with Natural Resources Canada; and several leading Canadian architects.
On the afternoon of the third day, participants can take a guided tour of five Passive House projects, all within Hamilton.
Ballard pointed out adoption of Passive House building standards has expanded beyond houses to become increasingly recognized around the world for providing a clear pathway for the decarbonization of towers and complex buildings of all sizes, both new and retrofitted.
“While our roots are with family homes, and we won’t abandon that area, our future is focused on finding the fastest, most efficient and affordable way to provide buildings that are climate resilient, safe and healthy for Canadians,” he said.
This is especially relevant as housing in Canada shifts away from the single-family home model to denser population models, including multi-residential buildings, highrises and infrastructure such as community centres and hospitals to support Canada’s growing population, Ballard said.
“Canada has a pivotal role to play in providing evidence that Passive House works for every building, in every climate and at the same time, making uniquely Canadian data and best practices available that will help further accelerate the pace of adaptation,” he stated.
The 2023 Passive House Conference can be attended in person or virtually.
Click here for conference program and registration details.
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