As so many of us are working from our own pods and bubbles this year, 475 is reinventing our annual year-in-review post into a blog series with each post written by a different member of 475’s Sales Team reflecting on stories and trends in their territory.
Part 5 is by Shaun St-Amour, 475’s Regional Product Consultant for Canada’s Western Provinces.
The pandemic has affected us all in very different ways, but for myself and for much of the construction industry in Western Canada, the lasting impacts will be (thankfully) more positive than negative.
It seems the construction industry in Western Canada took this time to understand that high performance buildings provide increased levels of comfort and indoor air quality. In addition to various municipalities in BC adopting the BC Energy Step Code, we saw many builders requesting assistance with their air tightness strategies. This increased demand, resulted in a busy second half of the year. You may have noticed my Instagram updates from the road (safely) traveling around this territory and providing training where I could. We are lucky that the Montreal Port Strike only affected a few clients but our logistics team back in the 475 HQ office has worked extremely hard on ensuring we have ample stock.
In 2020 we all met online. The number of Passive House virtual events was alarming. The upside is that it meant that your carbon footprint to access this knowledge was minimized yet the sharing was at an all time high. Two exciting events that were launched during the pandemic was the Global Passive House Happy Hour and the Passive House Accelerator Construction Tech. I am very pleased to be involved in both of these events and I am very grateful for the Passive House Accelerator to be organizing them. The Happy Hour is focused on showcasing projects and we aim to make the events PHast, PHactual, and PHun. (Note: PH = F and PH stands for Passive House). The Construction Tech event is all about the details and is more trades oriented. It’s all about the technical, the technique, and the technology. If you haven’t had a chance to attend any of these events, what are you waiting for? All your Passive House PHriends are there hanging out and collaborating about their successes and challenges.
One of the most exciting projects that wrapped up this year was Ora Homes' Azehna Project in Nanaimo. It's a Passive House that also targeted many petals of the Living Building Challenge. On their first build, during a pandemic they managed to accomplish the combination of Passive House and LBC standards. Quite a feat, and an inspiration. It's exciting that they are taking their successes and failures to the next project which happens to be on the neighboring property. It’s been wonderful to be able to assist where I can, starting with their adoption of 475's I-Joist Outrigger Smart Enclosure system. After the shell was completed, they focused their talents on the exterior and interior finishes which include a stone facade that also acts as a climbing wall. There seems to be a few Harry Potter-esque hidden doors and even a flameless fireplace.
I look forward to further growth of the Passive House standard in 2021 which includes the combo of mass timber construction with high performance buildings. Builders are pushing their envelopes to the higher step codes which means lower air tightness scores. The term "low upfront embodied carbon" was trending at all the virtual events. It will become a key topic as integrated design teams kick off planning sessions that ensure clients adopt Passive House and sustainable construction from the onset.
Wishing you a safe and successful 2021,
Shaun aka Mento Man