VANCOUVER – Passive House technology beat the heat at the Ice Box Challenge in Vancouver. Passive House Canada set up two structures, one built to BC Building Code standards and the other to Passive House standards, and filled them with one tonne of ice to test their performance during the summer heat.
After 18 days, Josh Usher of MistyWest, the Vancouver-based company that monitored the ice box performance throughout the event, announced the weight of the remaining ice in both structures: 639 kilograms of ice remained in the Passive House box, whereas 407 kilograms of ice remained in the BC Building Code box.
During the 18 days, a high-pressure ridge had settled over the region, breaking heat records in the province.
According to Passive House Canada, while the temperature inside each box varied by less than a couple of degrees on any day, it was clear when the boxes were opened that the extra insulation in the walls, floor and ceiling of the Passive House box, along with its northward-oriented window, made a difference.
The ice inside the Passive House box was still a solid, straight-edged block.
Passive House Canada states the normal-insulated building code box absorbed far more heat coming through the structure’s walls and roof. The top layer of ice was only about five to 10 centimetres thick, and the sides of the ice blocks had lost their straight edges as well as a lot of volume around the sides.
The event was held to raise awareness of the benefits and affordability of high-performance buildings among Vancouver-area residents.
Since the event started, Seattle has contacted Passive House Canada for information to help them host their own Ice Box Challenge later this year and New Zealand is also planning a similar event, the organization explains.
The Ice Box Challenge was run by Passive House Canada, with support from the City of Vancouver, Vancity and members of the local design and construction industry.