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BC’s First Market-Listed Home of “Passive House” Standards Sold for Record Price

Joannah Connolly
October 19, 2015

A state-of-the-art, one-of-a-kind green home, displayed on a recent bike tour of passive house projects with Mayor Gregor Robertson, has been sold in a single day before it could hit the market.

Although the sale price was not permitted to be published, the home was sold at a record price for a single-family home on a 33-foot lot in East Vancouver’s Renfrew neighbourhood, according to Ashley Smith, one of the listing agents with the Klein Group.

The first of its kind in BC to be sold on the market, the super-energy-efficient home by Lanefab Design/Build is built to passive house design standards, which aim to use design techniques to heat and cool homes, rather than traditional heating and cooling systems.

"The home has been designed to use far less energy than a standard home of the same size," said Bryn Davidson of Lanefab Design/Build, the designer of the home. "It far surpasses building code requirements and is at the leading edge of a worldwide revolution in building design that is helping to lower the carbon footprint of our buildings."

The 2,800-square-foot home at 2941 East 5th Avenue captures heat from the winter sun using long horizontal windows. Specially designed overhangs shade the home in the summer and 17-inch-thick super-insulated walls are airtight, creating a comfortable draft- and pollutant-free environment.

"In Vancouver there is no precedent for this type of single-family detached home being offered on the market," said Smith. "Although the home has been designed to maintain a comfortable temperature without the use of gas or electric heat, the builder chose to add radiant heating for peace of mind for the buyer, although they expect a new owner would rarely use it."

Energy saving features include R58 super insulated walls, high-performance triple glazed windows, a high efficiency heat recovery ventilator, on-demand hot water and LED lighting. The xeriscaped garden design reduces the need for watering.

The buyers of 2941 East 5th Ave are European-born Canadians who had been following this project for some time. “The simple, modern design and Passive House strategies resonated with them,” Smith told REW.ca. “They wished more new homes offered similar common-sense features they were accustomed to in Europe. There, “green” is not trendy – it is simply a way of life.”

Smith added, “Take note, builders – there is definitely room for thoughtfully built, energy-efficient homes in Vancouver. Buyers will pay for them.”

The home, which also includes a secondary suite and a laneway house, has a WalkScore of 78, meaning it's close to shops, transit and amenities, making it easy to get around on foot and on a bicycle.

The property was showcased to Mayor Gregor Robertson and other participants of the October 3, 2015 NAPHN Passive House bicycle tour, along with two other Vancouver non-market projects incorporating passive house design strategies. The home sold around a week later.

In line with the Mayor's greenest city action plan, the City of Vancouver is proposing to encourage more of these types of homes by removing barriers to construction and loosening requirements for height, rear yards and building depths.

Joannah Connolly
Joannah Connolly is editorial director of Glacier Real Estate, Glacier Media's real estate division. Joannah writes and curates real estate news for Glacier Media's local newspaper websites, including the Vancouver Courier, North Shore News, Burnaby Now, Tri-City News and others. She also oversees editorial content in Real Estate Weekly Homes, West Coast Condo, Western Investor and Glacier's special real estate publications. A dual Canadian-British citizen, Joannah has 22 years of journalism and editing experience in Vancouver and London, with a background in construction, architecture, healthcare and business media. Joannah has appeared on major local TV outlets as a real estate commentator, has moderated and spoken on various industry panels, and spent two years hosting the Real Estate Therapist radio show on Roundhouse Radio.