Surrey home to unique, clean-energy ‘passive house’

SURREY – There are about 400 houses worldwide that consume up to 90 per cent less energy than the average abode – ones that boast harvesting rainwater to flush toilets, that are made with non-toxic materials, that have a heat-recovery system – and Surrey is home to one of them.

This past Saturday (Nov. 8), Surrey residents were invited into the private, energyefficient home where Teresa Hotell lives, along with her children and grandchildren.

“Because it’s a different way of building a house, we’re only one of a few in Canada,” Hotell told the Now, noting that there are also similar homes, each being built in Vancouver, Whistler, Nelson and Fort St. John.

The house is certified as an International Passive House, and recently won two awards from the City of Surrey on Oct. 22 – the New City Design Award and the Clean Energy City Award.

“The house needs to have certain standards. There’s a variety of tests to meet the standard, which is really about being energy efficient,” she said.

The house’s style of design is mostly used in Germany, with walls built in Pemberton, B.C. and the building company based in Whistler, B.C. “It’s only in recent years that this has come to North America. We’re one of about 400 houses around the world,” she said.

“It’s as green as we could make it,” Hotell said, adding the house recycles rainwater, heats water by solar power, has triple-paned windows and doors, and uses outside power to heat the home.

“We found an architect who would design the house and worked with them on what we wanted,” she said. The architects of the house, Marken Projects Design Consulting, got to keep the New City Design Award statue after the Oct. 22 award ceremony.

“We didn’t know anything about what constituted a passive house, we just knew we wanted to build a house for (our family) as well as for us, which is another way of being energy efficient.”

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