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Alberta Passive House dealership crosses finish line

Russell Hixson
Alberta Passive House dealership crosses finish line

RED DEER, ALTA. – A recently completed Subaru dealership in Alberta is one of the first in the world to be built to Passive House standards. 

Scottsville Auto Group worked with Sublime Design Studio, Cover Architectural Collaborative and Peel Passive House Consulting for close to a year designing the Subaru dealership for Red Deer. The dealership wrapped up construction two months ago. 

“Because of the Subaru brand, not a huge mainstream brand, we wanted to do something unique and different,” said Garrett Scott, owner and CEO of Scottsville Auto Group. “This is the fifth dealership I’ve been involved with building. In the four previous we had always taken the approach of least expensive up front but then we were suffering long term when it comes to heating and cooling costs.”

Scott said he was also inspired by Subaru’s Indiana Automotive assembly plant in Lafayette that became the first zero-landfill factory in the U.S. 

The 14,000 square-foot facility features three-layer walls that are two feet thick.  A water system collects and redistributes rain and snow melt. The site also features a parking lot made of porous concrete on top of moss to help collect and hold water.

One of the most difficult parts of the projects was the its many large, overhead doors which made heating and cooling challenging. The team had to analyze how many times the doors would be opened and closed and found a way to reduce the number of doors needed. 

“A lot of the stuff is the first time it has been done in our area,” said Scott. “There was definitely a lot of skepticism from contractors and engineers. They had to get their heads around some different building methods. But I can attest to one thing: this is built really, really, well.”

He noted that the dryness that caused headaches and occasional nose bleeds is gone and the interior is so quiet he barely noticed a recent storm that left the parking lot littered with broken branches. 

“It’s not so much about being green or any of those stereotypes. it was just a ‘waste not, want not’,” said Scott. “Why consume the energy if we don’t have to and if we can build it smarter? It was the right sized project. it was still cost a lot more to build, but not so much that made it unmanageable. We had the choice to build something different and more efficient and we went that route.”

Scott added that he is already seeing significantly low operating costs and believes that the quality of construction will mean a building that will last for a long time with fewer maintenance needs.

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