The Heights Passive House.

North America’s Global Centres of Excellence In Building

By Roy L Hales

The United Nations endorsed Passive House as a global standard at the recent North American Passive House Network conference in Oakland, California. Deputy Secretary-General Amina J. Mohammed described Passive House as a model for the developing world, “where millions await the basics of a quality controlled environment” and the “developed world, which needs to redevelop sustainably.” Michael Møller, Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva, added that Vancouver and New York will be the locations of North America’s Global Centres of Excellence in Building.

North America’s Global Centres of Excellence In Building

“We’ve been working with the city of Vancouver for some time, in supporting the development of a centre of excellence.  It is still very early days and the concept is being developed … but clearly Vancouver has positioned itself as a global leader in terms of building design and construction. It is our hope that having the U.N. Centre of Excellence located in that city will enhance the city’s capability and leadership in that regard, ” said Rob Bernhardt CEO of Passive House Canada.

New York was also an obvious choice. The Passive House standard “has been applied, with some variations, to the vast majority of building types, from civic and institutional centers to high-rise commercial and large multifamily buildings.”1

The soon to be constructed 655 unit SustaiNYC will be the largest passive apartment building in the United States.

SustaiNYC RFP – courtesy NYC Housing Preservation & Development

A Global Initiative

This is part of a Global initiative, which will result in similar centres being built in other locations around the world.

“I believe there are six [centres of excellence in building]. They form an effective hub, for information for consumers, education, training, for developers, designers, for builders. It is really an effective component of a plan to  transform the building market,” said Bernhardt.

He added, “The global direction in building is very clear. Build Smart, Canada’s building strategy, the federal-provincial building agreement reached last month, are very aligned with this global direction. Our provincial energy step code is similarly aligned.  The Vancouver Zero Emissions Building Plan; the Toronto Zero Emissions Building Framework. All of these  regulations and proposed regulations and policies are driving us in the same direction.”

Top Photo Credit: The Heights Passive House – courtesy City of Vancouver

Footnote

  1.  Passive NYC, Building Energy Exchange, 2015, p 6

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