Prefab Home kits are ideal for Passive House or LEED certified homes
Écohabitation the French language Quebec affiliates of EcoHome, in conjunction with experienced Architects & Kit home manufacturers, have launched a series of stylish & affordable prefabricated sustainable green kit homes that are able to meet Passive House certification standards in North America and attain LEED V4 Platinum Certification in cold climates like Ontario, New York, Vermont, Maine or New Hampshire.
The ribbon was cut on the first prefab kit house model at Expo Habitat 2019 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada where the Eco-Habitat S1600 model (owned by Ecohome co-founder Emmanuel Cosgrove) was assembled in its entirety in the Montreal Stadium, allowing visitors to walk through and experience the quality and style of a prefabricated Architect designed LEED / Passive House panelized home first-hand. There is a whole range of different high-performance kit home models available and more under development - we at EcoHome are working dilligently at building all the English information on these exceptional & affordable homes...
This high performance sustainable kit home model was designed by PARA-SOL Architects, built by Bâtiment Pré-Fab, and assembled by NG3 Construction with the collaboration of the EcoHome & Écohabitation engineers.
The design of the Eco-Habitat S1600 prefab Passive House & LEED standard kit home is optimized for performance & energy efficiency, but to ensure sustainability also meets rigorous environmental standards to provide a high efficiency home with a low environmental footprint, along with a comfortable and healthy non-toxic indoor air quality & environment for the home-owners and their families.
Below is a list of the sustainable & high-performance kit house components & features that Emmanuel chose for his prefab LEED & Passive House home kit - These prefab home kits are configured to individual building lots & owner preferences:
Insulated Slab-on-grade Prefab kit
In it's final destination in the cold climate of Wakefield Quebec, the finished Eco-Habitat S1600 kit house sits on a slab on grade form kit from Legalett with 6 inches of seamless insulation under the slab and on the exterior vertical surfaces. As the ground beneath this prefab kit house is expansive clay, a raft slab-on-grade design with solar radiant heating was chosen to avoid the costly process of soil remediation that would have been required to build a standard footing and frost wall, or the expense and complication of building and insulating a basement properly. Raft slabs distribute the weight evenly over the entire surface of the floor rather than having the weight rest entirely on the perimiter footing; this allows for more affordable foundation construction on problem soils like expansive clay or peat.
Chosen Slab-on-Grade Form Kit Brand :
Legalett frost-protected shallow foundation forms - with solar heated radiant floor - see this one go together here:
This is the solar heated floor slab-on-grade foundation form kit being assembled for this LEED & Passive House ready prefab kit home, see many more sustainable home building tips & guide videos for LEED, Zero Energy & Passive House on the EcoHome YouTube channel here
Super-insulated wall assembly, in kit form
The prefab high-performance walls of this Passive House & LEED ready home kit are made almost exclusively using ecological materials from natural sources: double-stud wood framing, recycled paper (cellulose insulation), and wood fiber insulation panels.
- Double-framed wall construction with two offset rows of 2x4s studs injected with high-density cellulose insulation that will not settle over time
- The panelized prefab wall assembly was designed to dry outward, with glued, stick-on vapor-permeable WRB membranes (Weather Resistive Barriers) protecting the wall from the elements.
- Insulation levels are almost twice the standards required under Part 11 of the Quebec Building Code
- Wood fiber insulation boards on the exterior as a continuous insulation layer
Chosen High-Performance Wall Brands :
Dörken Delta membranes
Climatizer Insulation, high density cellulose insulation
High-efficiency doors and windows
High Performance Windows & Doors are an essential part of all homes when building new or renovating, & especially when going for Passive House certification & Designs, Passive Solar heating design, LEED certified homes & Zero Energy Homes all of which is accomodated in the design of the EcoHome prefab kit homes which incorporate the following.
- Triple-glazed windows (2x more efficient than ENERGY STAR® double glazing)
- A double layer of low-emissivity window film selected for maximum insulating value (R6)
- Thermal and acoustic comfort (triple-pane windows transmit less sound than double pane).
Chosen Triple-Glazed Window Brand:
Low-maintenance exterior cladding & roofing
Sustainable homes have to also be durable, so the Eco-Habitat S1600 prefab Passive House & LEED standard kit home is carefully finished with materials proven to be eco-friendly and durable for a long and maintenance-free lifespan.
- Exterior cladding materials were chosen for the ecological characteristics, low maintenance requirements and their durability:
- Cedar cladding with its natural anti-rot properties
- Sheet metal cladding – durable and 100% recyclable at the end of its life
- Metal roofing
Chosen High-Performance Cladding & Roofing Materials Brands :
Maxi Forest, white cedar coating
Ideal roof, metal cladding
Maçonnex, metal coating
Non-toxic materials for walls & ceilings
Materials for the interior were specifically chosen to maintain a high standard of clean indoor air quality, formaldehyde-free, low-environmental impact, durability and easy maintenance.
- Tongue and groove wooden boards on the ceiling
- Laminated wood wall coverings that are resistant to impacts and scratches
- Purebond® plywood for finishing and cabinetry that is free of urea formaldehyde and other VOCs
Chosen Non-Toxic Interior Finishes Brands :
Columbia Forest Product, plywood
Maxi Forest, natural wood planks
Clean indoor air quality and ventilation
Both the EPA & Health Canada recommend healthy Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) for the short and long-term health of homeowners and their families. Beyond carefully selecting the materials in a kit home for a healthy interior air quality, we also need to maintain that quality by bringing in and conditioning the interior air in homes in an energy efficient way. This includes the venting of toxic and harmful gasses like carbon monoxide combustion from fires and stoves, Formaldehyde from pressed-wood products, such as particleboard, plywood, and fiberboard; glues and adhesives; permanent-press fabrics; paper product coatings; and certain insulation materials. We also need to controll the interior humidity of a home to prevent mold formation.
- Energy recovery air exchanger : Allows for a high level of heat and moisture recovery while providing fresh air
- Range hood for exhausting cooking pollutants (including ultrafine particles)
- Bathroom fans to manage moisture and prevent the risk of mold growth
- Central vacuum removes dust and helps reduce allergy symptoms
Chosen ERV & Ventilation Brands :
Healthy interior finishing options
Beyond aesthetics, many of the detail finishing inside modern sustainable homes needs to be chosen with IQA in mind as well as recyclability for a reduction in end of lifecycle impact.
- Metal stair railings, emission-free and recyclable
- Edible plants in built-in planters, like living green walls promote well-being in addition to providing a healthy source of food and visual interest to the interior
Chosen Healthy Interior Brands :
Gourmet landscape, edible plants
Soud'Art, metal railing and railing
High-efficiency top-up heating systems
There are three high-efficiency top-up heating systems in this LEED & Passive House rated kit house, because as much as this high performance home is designed using Passive Solar design principles there are always periods of the year in cold northern US States like New York, Vermont, Maine or New Hampshire and in Canada in Quebec & Ontario where the sun doesn't shine and we need to keep warm. As this kit house is also a test model for EcoHome, we took the opportunity to try out the following high efficiency heating options so we can measure their efficiency and write about them, but chances are your kit home will only need one of these heat sources:
- An air-heated radiant floor system from Legalett with an estimated 60-70% of the total heat load being provided by solar air heating panels, which also act to pre-heat domestic hot water in the summer.
- A heat pump that operates down to -25 °C that can triple the heat generated per kWh of electricity consumed (300% efficiency) compared to other sources of electric resistance heat .The heat pump includes an air conditioning mode.
- High-efficiency wood stove : Wood is a renewable and affordable source of heat in Quebec & North America, which also provides auxiliary heating for resiliency to ensure the home remains habitable during prolonged power outages. The wood stove combustion is in accordance with EPA requirements limiting the emission of fine particles.
Chosen High Efficiency Heating Brands :
Legalett Solar Air-Heated Slab-on-Grade Form Kits
Powrmatic heat pump
DF-Jade House, (Pacific Energy Fireplaces & Stove), Wood Stove and (The Grill Bowl), Grill
High-efficiency plumbing and water fixtures
Clean water is essential for life, but most people in North America don't think much about the water they use for drinking, food preparation, and sanitation. Freshwater scarcity manifests itself in the depletion of groundwater, and the drying up of rivers and lakes upon which people depend for irrigation to grow their food. The intersection of water scarcity, food security, and a changing climate on top of it all raises a suite of water concerns for our futures that careful choices of plumbing fixtures and fittings can contribute to help improve the sustainability of our homes.
- Water-efficient fixtures in EcoHome prefab kit homes use only 50% of equivalent new homes in North America
- High efficiency washing machine
- Condensing dryer that does not exhaust heat to the outside and avoids the need for a dryer vent
- Gray water heat recovery unit : Waste water from the upstairs shower preheats cold water destined for the water heater and recovers approximately 50% of energy with passive operation that requires no maintenance and has no moving parts.
Chosen High Efficiency Low Flow Plumbing Brands :
American Standard, DXV, Grohe, faucet
Germain Larivière, washer and dryer
Ecodrain, gray water heat recovery
Healthy, durable & eco-friendly flooring materials
Back to internal air quality, flooring materials have been chosen for ease of keeping clean and allergen free, while being toxin-free also to avoid off-gassing into the home.
- The main floor will be polished concrete with healthy, non-toxic concrete sealants
- The second floor will be Marmoleum, which is made of renewable materials and natural sources and is very durable and healthy.
Chosen Eco-Friendly Flooring Brands :
Forbo Flooring Systems, Marmoleum
Healthy Kitchen Construction
That beautiful new kitchen with the granite counters that you're looking forward to owning in your new house can be one of the main sources of toxic formaldehyde and other red-listed chemicals in the home - unless that is you choose formaldehyde-free kitchen components - which of course EcoHome's Director Emmanuel did.
- Very durable natural stone environmentally friendly kitchen countertops made entirely of minerals without the addition of chemical agents
- Plywood boxes made from soybean glue without urea formaldehyde (VOC)
- Wood cabinet doors are zero-VOC and are covered with anti-stain laminate
- ENERGY STAR® Appliances
Chosen Non-Toxic Kitchen Materials Brands :
Cosentino kitchen countertops
Program workshop, counter
Columbia Forest Product, Plywood Boxes + Cabinets
Formica, laminate on doors of cabinets + cabinets
American Standard, DXV, Grohe, faucet
Flame retardant-free non-toxic furniture
- The Sofas are made from healthy materials without brominated flame retardants, created by an eco-designer upholsterer in Quebec.
Chosen Non-Toxic Furniture Brands :
Luwiss, sofas & bench
Charging station for electric vehicles
It is estimated that a family of five living in this location would require about $3 a day for their entire transportation needs - which we feel should be taken into account when calling homes Zero-Energy. A hyper-efficient house such as this could be fitted with solar PV panels and can save enough energy to offset the energy needed for charging the best electric cars, which can reduce an individuals personal carbon footprint by as much as 90%
Chosen EV Charger Brand :
Rematek energy charging station for electric vehicles
Wastewater treatment / Septic system
The EnviroSeptic Enhanced and Certified Wastewater Treatment System Does not generate filter media or other substrate in the maintenance of waste
- No pumping system or other mechanics are necessary for operation
- Operates without energy
* The clay soil of this building lot required an advanced water treatment system, those standards were met by this wastewater treatment system
Chosen Wastewater Treatment System Brand :