Thursday, December 24, 2009


My research into superinsulation led me to PHIUS, the Passive House Institute United States, located in Urbana IL. This is the North American branch of the PassivHaus Institute located in Germany. They are known for developing standards and procedures for the design of buildings using passive house principles. If one wishes to get into the technology and engineering of passive house design, I would recommend contacting them. For local contact I would suggest their certified Canadian consultant located in Nova Scotia.

What I have found is a general lack of actual details and drawings that incorpoarate passive house design. The designs and details that I will be sharing on this blog are derived from many of the principles that PassivHaus and PHIUS have developed. I will not, however, try to demonstrate how my designs and details are in complete compliance with all passivHaus standards. While it is important to acknowledge the science behind passive design, residential housing has developed through commonly held and known practices. The Canadian R2000 program has developed many of the building practices and techniques that will be required for future superinsulated homes.

The designs and details I will share are based upon traditional or vernacular housing types that are common to the maritimes. These traditional housing types were developed in response to the environment and culture of this region. House designs I intend to include are:

Maison Grande-Digue House
Home design built for veterans returning from WWII.

Maison Cocagne House
Traditional house type that features a central dormer.

Maison St. Thomas House
Hillside home or cabin designed for the coast of Nova Scotia.

Maison Scoudouc House
Small single person or couples homes.

Traditional wood frame construction is used as the trade or way of building is common and known by local trades. Materials were also selected on the basis of local manufacturers and availability. While all the materials may not meet the most stringent passivHaus requirements, they will offer dramatic improvements over current building practices. The details will include the names of these products.

The construction drawings and details that have linked in my blog and those I will be including in my future blogs can be downloaded and printed for your use. These details only reflect one approach to building a superinsulated building. There are no doubt others that have been used and may well be better than the ones I have provided. I would love to see and share drawings and details with others.

Finally, I am including a link to Greener than green, a testimonial about a passive house builder and his home located in Oregon. It says more than I can write in this blog. You can find our more about Ted Nickell by typing his name into your search engine.


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Nice designing of this house.

Deirdre G

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