The Urban Passive House (Passivhaus)

A quick survey in North America's cities

By Adrien Roux-Delagarde

Even if Europe is the birthplace of Passive Houses, the concept has arrived in America years ago and you can see nice examples of passive houses all around the continent. Some of them even try to fit in the cities, the place where the ecological and sustainable issues are most crucial.

North Park Passive Houses (Victoria, Canada)


“This 6-unit condominium building is the first purpose-built condominium building in Canada achieving the highest energy efficiency on the globe, the International Passive House standard. The goal in developing this project is to demonstrate that such buildings are not only more comfortable and sustainable, but also economical and achievable right here, right now. The design combines high performance building requirements with contextual issues and sound urban design. »  HCMA


About the building

  • Program: Passive House condominium
  • Housing units: 6
  • Dwelling average surface: 800 sf
  • Dwelling average price : 330,000$
  • Features : Solar pannels

LoneFIR Urban Passive House (Portland,USA)

“The efficiency of the LoneFIR Passive House is remarkable: energy costs of $600 per year are anticipated compared to a standard code construction estimated at $3,000 per year. Overall, the LoneFIR Passive House offers a model of sustainable urban living: urban infill development supporting a walkable neighborhood density executed with the dramatic energy-efficiency of the Passivhaus Standard. By combining “location-efficiency” and building efficiency a truly miniature carbon footprint is gracefully achieved with an increase in livability.”


About the building

  • Program: Urban passive family house
  • Housing units: 1
  • Dwelling average surface: 1,800 sf

174 Grand Street in Williamsburg Passive House (New York, USA)

"During most of the year with extreme weather (summer and winter, specifically), the house maintains a very tight seal and all ventilation is done through the Passive House ventilation duct system. But on beautiful spring days when the temperature is mild, the house remains open to the outdoor weather to allow for fresh air and ample ventilation."

About the building

  • Program: Private Passive residence above retail store
  • Housing units: 1
  • Walls : 8”concrete + 6”EPS exterior insulation
  • Roof4”Concrete +  8” rigid insulation
  • Features : Energy recovery ventilator, heating/cooling unit.

R-951 Net zero Passive House (New York, USA)

“The R-951 Residence is a newly constructed, elegantly designed row house that establishes a new benchmark for comfort and efficiency. The three 1,500 square foot apartments have open loft layouts, high ceilings and an abundance of natural light and fresh air. Each of these beautiful homes includes a generous amount of private outdoor space, too » R-951

About the building

  • Program: Duplex passive houses
  • Housing units: 3
  • Dwelling average surface: 1,500 sf
  • Features : High efficiency heating/cooling system, insulated concrete forms, rainwater retention system, heat pumps, energy recovery ventilation systems, 12,2 kW solar pannels

Sol Lux Alpha condominium (San Francisco, USA)

"San Francisco's first ever Passive House condominium apartment complex is rising in the Mission Creek neighborhood, and amazingly, this über-efficient 6 story building doesn't just conserve energy through a tightly sealed building envelope, it also generates and stores so much energy it will function as its own 'Microgrid' "

About the building

  • Program: Net-positive energy passive house condominium
  • Housing units: 4
  • Dwelling average surface: 1760sf
  • Dwelling average price : 2 to 3 million $
  • Features : Building detached from city energy grid, rainwater retention,  solar panels, extra energy stocked in batteries