ETA Lab and UBC Properties Trust secure $3.5m to develop one of Canada’s largest Passive House residential buildings

UBC Properties Trust, in partnership with ETA Lab and UBC Campus & Community Planning, has commenced work on a multi-family residential project, with the working name “BCR8”. The project, designed to meet and surpass Passive House Classic certification, will be undertaken over 2019-2023. In June 2019, the project team secured $3.5m in funding from Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) under the Energy Efficient Buildings RD&D programme.

As Canada embarks on a trajectory to significantly reduce the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of its building stock, there exists one building typology that is least understood in terms of affordable GHG emissions reduction strategies and climate-resilient design: the multi-unit residential building (MURB). This is a challenge for Canada, as MURBs are destined to play a greater role in the country’s housing future than in the past century. According to Statistics Canada, 2010 marked the first year in over four decades that a greater number of MURB dwellings were constructed annually in the country than single-family homes. The rate of growth in MURBs has continued since then and is predicted to accelerate further as affordability constraints across Canada’s central metropolitan areas continues to drive urban densification.

BCR8 will aim to improve Canadian industry and governments’ ability to realize affordable, low-carbon, high-performance residential buildings. The project will: 1) pursue a realignment of industry, government, and academia’s views on residential building design in Canada; and 2) provide solutions to existing economic, technical and regulatory barriers facing high-performance MURB development in the country.

The project’s research and knowledge dissemination team will be led by Dr. Adam Rysanek, Director of the ETA Lab, with support from Dr. Ralph Evins (University of Victoria), Dr. Cynthia Cruickshank (Carleton University), and Dr. Stephen Harrison (Queen’s University).