The Rainbow Duplex in Whistler is the first Passive House in BC

The passive solar design and orientation of homes is anything but new. Solar heat collection is a technique that has been used in home construction for thousands of years. What is relatively new is the rating system developed to certify them.

The Passive House certification standard originated in Germany in the late 1980’s and currently boasts over 30,000 certified buildings around the world, with 16,000 in Germany alone, although the concept of passive solar home design was pioneered in Saskatchewan Canada in the 1970's by Harold Orr.

In 2010, a Passive House from Austria was assembled in Whistler for the Olympic Games, however, the Rainbow Duplex designed by Marken Projects marks the first Passive House to be solely constructed in B.C. using primarily local products.

Rainbow Duplex Passive House Whistler BC Interior Design, © Marken Projects

Using up to 90% less energy for heating, cooling and building operation than a standard house, the Rainbow Duplex was assembled in 4 ½ days using a prefabricated panelized system manufactured by British Columbia

A successful passive solar home is designed to absorb as much of the sun’s heat as possible in the winter months, without over heating in summer months. Solar hot water collection, a subsoil heat exchanger and cross-laminated timber decking are a few of the extensive sustainable building features incorporated into the prefabricated design, which also meet requirements for Whistler’s Price Restricted House Initiative.

“One of the major hesitations associated with ultra-low energy buildings is the construction costs,” said Alex Maurer, director of Marken Projects and a leading expert in Passive House design and planning. “We wanted to show that building sustainably isn’t only for the affluent. With a little innovation homes can be both energy efficient and affordable.”

“We’re very excited to see the continued growth of Passive House construction in Whistler,” said Mayor Wilhelm-Morden. “Affordability and energy efficiency are both core to our long-term sustainability strategy in Whistler.”

Read more about Passive House construction and efficient home building in general on the pages below and in our Green Building Guide.

Learn about the benefits of a free Ecohome Network Membership here and get access to preferred pricing on select materials.