Ecohome’s Edelweiss House project, a passively heated, cold climate demonstration home located in Wakefield, Quebec, has become the first project in Canada to earn LEED v4 certification. Edelweiss is not only the first project in Canada to be certified under LEED v4, but it has also earned the highest level possible – Platinum – making it only the second LEED v4 home in the world to reach LEED’s most rigorous level.
The hyper-efficient cold climate house boasts an average price tag and an extremely low operational budget. Located 40 minutes from Ottawa in the Gatineau Hills, this 1,552 sq. ft. home was less than $250,000 to build and its energy bills are estimated to be less than $1.40/day. In comparison, a standard new home of comparable size consumes roughly 10 times more energy.
The Edelweiss House was designed and built by Emmanuel Cosgrove and Mike Reynolds, co-founders of Ecohome. “We don’t really build anymore as our mission is education,” they say. “We undertook this project to show builders and homeowners that it isn’t that hard or expensive to build better performing homes, and that your true monthly overhead can actually be lower, right from the moment you move in.”
The home will now be used for full-day workshops, as well as for short-term rentals that allow building professionals or future homeowners to experience the comfort of a passive solar home first hand.
With a slab-on-grade foundation and a living green roof, the house heats by harnessing warmth from the sun, the occupants and their various appliances. Built with non-toxic building materials and FSC certified wood, the home also features finishing materials such as locally-sourced slate, reclaimed sunken river wood, sandblasted antique doors, and a quartz countertop made of recycled porcelain plates, bottles and mirrors. Edelweiss House is also extremely water-efficient, with a projected water savings of 60 per cent over an equivalent new home.
This ultra-low energy home has earned high praise from the CaGBC for its innovation and leadership. “The Edelweiss House is a phenomenal achievement – the first Canadian project to meet the stringent requirements of the latest version of LEED at its highest level,” said Thomas Mueller, President and CEO of the CaGBC. “I commend Ecohome for being a leader in the Canadian home building community and for demonstrating to the industry that high sustainability standards can be achieved right here in Canada, right now.”
Canada currently has nine additional projects registered for LEED v4 certification in Canada, with this certification marking the first of its kind for any project type. More information on the house, including a step-by-step video series following its construction can be found online at ecohome.net. For more information on additional LEED v4 registered project in Canada, visitCaGBC’s LEED v4 Leaderboard webpage.
Additional information about the home:
Passive Solar Index (PSI): The Edelweiss House will act as a vehicle to launch Ecohome’s Passive Solar Index, a simple program designed to affix an energy efficiency value to homes. PSI recognizes homes that perform at a level below 50 kWh/m²/year, where most newly built homes in Canada consume over 150 kWh/m²/year of energy for heating.