Year in Review: 6 Bright Spots from 2016


2016 was a good year for high-performance and Passive House building. 475 is grateful to participate in making a new paradigm for robust sustainability. We are inspired by the great work our customers do across Canada and the United States. Here's a sampling of things that came about in 2016 to give us hope in these dark winter days:

1. Expanding Communication and Building The Future

It's great being a part of a community of people working to make real changes to our built environment. For many, truly sustainable building is a promise, a discussion, or an idea; but we get to see it as living projects. Getting on the job site and into offices, reviewing drawings, discussing options to optimize - these are critical in implementing advanced building approaches. And in 2016 we expanded our capabilities to share, reach, and work with the people doing the work of building the future:

2. Smart, Non-Toxic Building Performance Solutions Are Winning


We are well-known among many for being outspoken in debates about foam. You can't criticize something without offering a quality alternative. Luckily, we have some of the best. GUTEX wood fiberboard and Havelock Wool are two extremely green ,high-performance insulations. And when coupled with smart moisture control and airtight systems by ProClima - advanced construction takes on new meaning. We are gratified to see the market respond positively to these ongoing developments.

And we continue our push against the most toxic materials like spray foam insulation: Is Spray Foam Pollution? The Fifth Circuit Has Spoken.  And ask that we all Make Better Choices: Toward A Less Toxic World.


3. Daylighting Is Letting The Sunshine In

This year we saw a growth in interest for high performance daylighting. That interest was spurred by the vast and varied options, particularly for roof daylighting, that actually benefit (rather than hinder) high performance building envelopes. We've developed a whole new site to introduce North America to the plethora of projects that are possible with well-built daylighting elements over at There's a particular emphasis on LAMILUX PR-60 Passive House Certified glass roofs and FE unit skylights, and we're very excited about the possibilities in 2017 for BEWISO simulated historic double-hung windows, Fakro pitched roof skylights and Lightway solar tubes.

4. Integrated Details & Sophisticated Designs Are Taking Off

We are always looking for new ways to dig deeper into the details and empower truly integrated and sophisticated design. In 2016 from our blog posts on integrating windows (How To Prepare For High Performance Windows)  and structural penetrations (Air Sealing Wooden Joists: How To Plan For Smart Airtight Connections). And we see advanced detail integration in larger commercial projects like in the video 475 On-Site: Cornell Tech Details.

And our customers are producing amazingly sophisticated and affordable buildings:

The fine work of Collective Carpentry from Invermere, BC
The fine work of Collective Carpentry from Invermere, BC

5. Prefabrication Is Catching On

We are big fans of prefabricated construction - both panelized and modular. The promise of factory building enclosures is unparalleled quality control and affordability. We're proud to work with leading fabricators in the U.S. and Canada.

Much more to come in this department! Stay tuned!

6. Passive House Grows: Cities & States Lead the Way

Pembina Institute report
From the Pembina Institute report: "Accelerating Market Transformation for High-Performance Building Enclosures"

There are over 3 million square feet of building in the pipeline in New York State alone and millions more across North America. Cities and States have been the leaders in energy transformation and sustainability - and going into 2017 their importance will only grow.

 We wish all our customers and colleagues a very happy holiday and look forward to working with you in the new year.

Continue the conversation on social media