Perkins+Will’s Vancouver Office Sets the Bar for Highest Number of Certified Passive House Designers of any Design Firm in Canada

The Vancouver office of global architecture and design firm Perkins+Will announced today the designation of seven more of its employees as Certified Passive House Designers (CPHD). This brings the total number of certified designers in its office to nine—more than any other design firm in Canada. 

Passive House is the only internationally recognized, performance-based energy standard in construction. It is often considered the most rigorous voluntary standard in the industry today, resulting in buildings that consume roughly 80 percent less heating and cooling energy than conventional buildings. Certification ensures that an architect is expertly qualified to design a building to meet the standard.

“We see the Passive House standard as a proven method for the design and construction of quiet, comfortable, healthy, durable buildings of all sizes and for almost any use,” says Alex Minard, Senior Associate and Certified Passive House Designer (CPHD) at Perkins+Will. “Rather than investing in complex mechanical systems that require ongoing maintenance and specialized knowledge to operate, we would prefer to see our clients invest in simplicity: good quality building components such as insulation, windows, and doors.”

Over the past 12 months, Perkins+Will’s Vancouver office hosted the first in-house training in Canada by the Canadian Passive House Institute (CanPHI), the nonprofit educational organization for Passive House in Canada. Perkins+Will recognized the need to address large complex projects and partnered with CanPHI to develop a curriculum that is focused on large residential and non-residential buildings. 

“A building designed to the Passive House standard closes the performance gap between what is designed and what is actually built. This requires a solid grounding in building science, which is why Perkins+Will partnered with CanPHI to create the in-house course,” says Cillian Collins, CPHD at Perkins+Will and member of CanPHI’s Education Committee. “And since the Passive House standard requires an integrated design team, we invited engineers, builders, and clients to participate in the course as well. Due to its success we will be hosting another round of training in the months ahead.”

“Passive House buildings are highly efficient and provide optimal health and wellbeing for their occupants. We congratulate Perkins+Will’s commitment to Passive House and to pioneering the first in-house training in Canada,” says Rob Bernhardt, president of CanPHI. 

Passive House is gaining traction in Canada at both a local and national level as governments develop policy to encourage energy efficient building. The Canadian government will be focusing investment in sustainable building through the development of a concrete pan-Canadian plan, as announced by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau following agreements at the recent UN Climate Change Conference. British Columbia has long been at the leading edge of climate change advocacy and this is reflected at a local level in the City of Vancouver’s Greenest City 2020 Action Plan.

“The City is using tools such as its Green Building Policy for Rezonings to encourage progressive developers to build to the Passive House standard as the globally recognized standard of excellence for energy efficient building envelope design. Well trained and qualified building design professionals are key to receiving the full benefits of Passive House,” said Sean Pander, Green Building Manager for the City of Vancouver.

With an established history in sustainable design, Perkins+Will’s Vancouver studio was the first design firm in Canada to design a LEED Gold certified building, and has completed projects pursuing Living Building Challenge certification. Passive House does not replace these standards, but rather joins them in an array of available strategies. 

Wolfgang Feist, founder of the Passive House Institute, commended Perkins+Will’s initiative: “Professionals have to be equipped with the crucial know-how and the skills to realize the quality demanded by a building built to the Passive House Standard. The Passive House Institute therefore wishes to recognize this great achievement of Perkins+Will in supporting an increasing number of capable professionals to the Canadian market.”

Perkins+Will applauds its employees that have recently attained Certified Passive House Designer designation: Derek Newby, Max Richter, Paul Cowcher, Nathan Shuttleworth, Josh Rudd, Aneta Chmiel, and Clayton Blackman.

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