When Spire Development Corporation decided to extend its expertise from commercial and industrial to residential development, it leapt directly into Passive House construction on a large scale—95 units of rental housing. With the city of Vancouver incentivizing Passive House, says Vice President Peter Rackow, jumping in early made good sense. “In addition to getting a little more density, we feel that operationally we will be creating savings in value, as we will have a better building and lower utility costs,” Rackow says. “We will also be differentiating ourselves considerably in the market.”
Spire Landing provides 71 one-bedroom and 24 two-bedroom units in a six-level structure that steps down the site, which has a grade differential of more than 6 metres. The building sits on a two-level underground concrete parkade that has 76 parking stalls; ample bicycle parking and even a bicycle repair room are also included.
Generous indoor and outdoor amenity facilities are located on the south-facing setbacks of the top two levels, including a usable roof area that will provide unobstructed views. This common space features beds for vegetable gardens, child play areas, BBQs, and plenty of space to simply relax on comfortable outdoor furniture.
Massing articulation on the façade facing Fraser Street creates townhouse-scale bays, softening the development’s presentation to the street. Wide roof overhangs provide rain and solar protection, while also contributing to the massing articulation. In addition to exterior fixed shading devices on the south-facing façade, the project incorporates high-performance triple-pane windows with glazing characteristics varied by orientation to minimize summer heat gain.
Passive House Metrics
Cooling and dehumidification demand
Primary energy demand
0.6 ACH₅₀ (design)
The structure is wood-frame construction. The double-wall assembly includes an added exterior wall to achieve high insulation and airtightness. The floor over the parkade is insulated on the top side to minimize thermal bridging. Roof insulation is installed both in the joist cavity and continuously above the structure.
Unit ventilation is provided by HRVs located along the upper corridors, where maintenance crews can easily access the equipment. Each HRV serves a four- or five-storey stack of units. Electric baseboard units will supply the minimal supplemental heating needed. No cooling demand is anticipated, given the shading and the availability of natural ventilation provided by the operable tilt-and-turn European-style windows.