The Construction Source

then pass it on to a consultant to make it work. Every wire, every duct, every detail must be accounted for at the beginning of the design and every step of the way, or you will simply not meet the International Passive House standard.” Passive House is a different way to design – a highly insulated, airtight building. It does not need the massive conventional heating and cooling mechanicals of a traditional build, rather it uses an energy recovery system that recycles the heat generated by the residents’ own bodies and their activities. “A hair dryer can heat a passive house,” says Kearns. A passive house is also an active, breathable house. The energy recovery system provides dedicated fresh air ventilation in every room, allowing for higherthan-normal humidity levels of 40 – 50 per cent. Aerosolized particles are not transmitted in the more humid air; they drop to the ground. And the humidity maintains the body’s mucosa layer, protecting residents from airborne viruses. This makes Passive House a pandemic-resilient environment that is perfectly suited for multi-unit dwellings, like long-term care homes where infection protection and control is paramount. The efficient control of the air and no air leaks allows these homes to maintain a constant flow of clean, fresh air and maintain the ideal relative humidity. Innovation in building design requires different voices at the table. The Putman Family YWCA was designed by a women-led team for a women-led family residence. FEBRUARY 2022