Saskatoon HOME magazine Summer 2019

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PERFECTLY PASSIVE The varsity view home with no furnace Julie barnes When Jim Spinney and Holly Ann Knott decided to tear down their Varsity View home and build a passive house, they encountered a touch of skepticism. “Some people were suggesting that you can’t really get a certified passive house in our climate because it’s simply too cold,” says Jim. “There were no certified houses at the time in any of the three prairie provinces,

so it was an opportunity to do something that was different. It was an opportunity to prove the science actually works.” And the couple’s three winters in their—now certified—passive house have provided living proof of what’s possible, despite what the naysayers said. 40+ Years in the Making Originally, Jim and Holly Ann hired Robin Adair, a

local green builder, to tackle a renovation and repair some water damage in their existing home. When the damage turned out to be more extensive (not to mention more expensive) than expected, they decided to change tack. “We decided, we’re still young enough—why don’t we demolish it ourselves and rebuild? Holly has always had an interest in energy

Danger dynamite efficient homes,” says Jim. As luck would have it, Robin had recently completed a course in passive house construction. Passive homes have been on Holly Ann’s radar since the late 1970s, when she toured the Saskatchewan Conservation House in Regina. Super insulated, air-tight and sans furnace, the Conservation House used less than a fifth of the energy

Saskatoon HOME Summer 2019 |