Saskatchewan Conservation House

Historic Canadian project wins Pioneer Award

Monday, April 13, 2015

The Passive House Institute announced it will hand out this year’s international Pioneer Award to the Saskatchewan Conservation House in Regina.

The award honours trailblazing projects that set the groundwork for subsequent developments in energy efficient construction and refurbishment.

Back in 1977, the building was used to test features of the modern Passive House Standard. Forward-thinking experts, including Howard Orr, a Canadian mechanical engineer and the project leader, pursued the reduction of consuming heating oil.

Studies had shown that a main factor involved thermal protection of the building envelope.

“Harold Orr and his collaborators already realized 40 years ago that efficiency is the key to sustainable construction, since energy which is produced in the summer cannot automatically be transferred to the winter,” says Dr. Wolfgang Feist, director of the Passive House Institute. “The building did not only have an excellent level of thermal protection, it was also constructed to be extremely airtight. And, as one of the first in the world, it had a ventilation system with heat recovery.”

A double-skin construction was chosen in order to achieve optimal thermal protection. To ensure an airtight building envelope, Orr and his colleagues had to complete much of the work of air sealing themselves since there were no professionals at the time.

Orr will accept the award at the International Passive House Conference in Leipzig, Germany on April 18, 2015.