Passive House Archives - Morrison Hershfield

OAW Festival: Blueprints to our eco-footprints


Ottawa Architecture Week (OAW) is an annual week-long festival that welcomes everyone to explore architecture, urbanism, art and design in Ottawa. This year’s theme is “Under Water: Weathering the New Normal” exploring the changing climate impacts on the Ottawa region and the urgent need for new solutions. OAW takes place September 28 to October 8, 2019.

We’re excited to be part of this year’s OAW! More info here.

Mark Lucuik, Director of Sustainability, will participate in this panel on Thursday, October 3. More information on the panel, including registration, can be found here.

Panel Overview: Blueprints to our eco-footprints

The increasingly inclement and extreme weather have cities around the world speaking about resiliency and disaster preparedness. There is urgency to this message but also uncertainty of any clear path forward. The problems feel insurmountable, while the solutions frequently feel disconnected from each other and from reality. Critical challenges have a way of inspiring both technological and social innovation. Individual actions can have a system-wide impact. Strategic structural and policy changes are also needed to keep the momentum going. As we look around the world for creative solutions, we must also remember the importance of working on solutions together in Ottawa for Ottawa.

This year OAW asks us: “How do we weather this new normal, together?”

For decades, the environmental movement has asked us to consider our ecological impact and has challenged us all to take action. How can we reduce, reuse, and recycle? Can we stop clear-cutting and save the rainforest? What causes acid rain? Can we close the hole in the ozone? Are our energy sources renewable? How do we reduce our dependency on fossil fuels? How do we “green” our homes and our cities to make them more sustainable? Can we ban single-use plastics? Is our water safe? The “environmental movement” is itself an ever-shifting landscape. Different issues and different strategies gain popularity. Some persist while others go out of fashion and fade from our memories. It can be hard to keep up and to know what the right thing to do is.

Architecture and the construction industry are major players in the city but are also major contributors to the global carbon footprint. Architecture can help us imagine new ways of living and ways to restore a balanced relationship with the environment. We can find inspiration in the many ecologically-driven international design competitions and projects from around the world. The architectural industry is also in need of reform. The industry continues its work to advance new building and design technologies; sophisticated building modeling; and sustainable building certification programs, such as LEED. External pressure from government regulations and incentive programs, as well as consumer-led choices and changing consumer habits can also help push architecture to identify and transform its own unsustainable practices.

Innovation is not our only resource for change. Inspiration and hope also come from looking to the past. Old buildings hold a wealth of old ideas and a wealth of materials we can call upon for creative solutions to reconcile built and natural environments. Historically, building techniques and traditions evolved to respond to local climate, making use of surrounding renewable natural resources and local knowledge. Building conservation is not just about protecting heritage. It can also be about protecting the environment. Many old buildings can be retrofitted to find new life with new purpose, while others can be rehabilitated to reduce emissions and operating costs. This can happen at the scale of minor renovations to your home, to significant heritage buildings, to entire de-industrialized districts.

Following the discussion, the audience will be invited to join the conversation by asking questions and sharing ideas.

BuildGreen Atlantic: Keynote + Retrofit to the Max


BuildGreen Atlantic 2019 is a conference, trade show and networking event created to advance the design, construction, and operation of green buildings in Atlantic Canada. This year’s conference theme is Retrofits, Energy Benchmarking and Accelerating to Zero. BuildGreen will take place in Halifax, Nova Scotia on Monday, September 30, 2019.

Our team is excited to be presenting two sessions at this year’s conference!

Registration and more information can be found here.

Keynote – Building as a Conscious Act: Finding Opportunity in Health, Resiliency and Community

100,000 years ago, humans had a near extinction. From those 2000 people came the billions we have today. Now we are facing a new threat of extinction.

In the next decade, more than 6,000 cities, states, and provinces around the world will try to do something that has eluded humanity for 50 years: reduce their carbon emissions. But at our rate of urbanization, we’re building the equivalent of a city the size of New York every five weeks.

Ideas that seem crazy today will seem sane in 10 years. In a world where we will “do anything” to end homelessness (except build homes); will “do anything” to end hunger (except provide food); and will “do anything” to cut emissions (except use less coal), we need new, bold solutions to our address our built environment.

In this talk, we’ll journey through an inspirational look at the global crises facing the world and a variety of ways to transform your business to adapt to a warmer, wetter world. Learn from our work with hundreds of municipalities, agencies, and companies to reduce their carbon, boost their performance, slash their operational expenses, and provide healthy spaces for everyone. Learn how to link design to outcome and uncover new ways to expand your business.

Design affects everything. The typeface in your child’s textbook affects their ability to comprehend the information. The ceiling height of your office affects the productivity of your employees. Imagine how you can use design to transform your business to improve outcomes in health, energy, carbon, and more. If you plan cities for cars & traffic, you get cars & traffic. If you plan for people & places, you get people & places.

Eric Corey Freed, Sustainability Disruptor, will present the event’s Keynote Address during the conference Welcome session at 8 a.m.


Session Overview – Retrofit to the Max: Elite Performance is not just for New Builds

Achieving certification to Zero Carbon Building Standard or Passive House can seem like a daunting task, particularly on a retrofit project. The relative impact of thermal bridging and envelope transitions is amplified in low energy buildings and particularly challenging to resolve in retrofit conditions. Humber College’s Deep Energy Retrofit Project for the Nx Building surmounted these challenges through careful integration across architectural design, energy modelling, envelope design, and mechanical design. Construction phase challenges were also met by implementing a robust testing protocol to facilitate EnerPhit and Zero Carbon Building submissions.

This session will be co-presented by Steve Murray, Senior Building Science Consultant, it will begin at 10:20 a.m.

2°C Symposium: Keynote + Panel


Organized by COTE AIA|LA, the 2°C Symposium is an opportunity to learn essential technologies, strategies and tools that address climate change at a critical time for our collective future. We’re excited that our very own Sustainability Disruptor, Eric Cory Freed, will be presenting a keynote and participating in a panel at this year’s event!

The 2°C Symposium will take place on Friday, March 1, 2019 in Los Angeles. More information here.

Keynote Overview – Building as a Conscious Act: Finding Opportunity in Health, Resiliency and Community

An inspirational look at the global crises facing the world and lessons from work with hundreds of municipalities, agencies, and companies to reduce their carbon, boost their performance, slash their operational expenses, and provide healthy spaces for everyone.

This session will take place at 8:45 a.m.

Panel Overview – The Carbon Panel: The Pathway to a Carbon-Negative World

We need new models that inspire the everyday hero and provide unprecedented prosperity based on sustainable strategies. This panel will explore the way forward to a carbon negative planet, reversing global warming and healing the planet’s ecosystems.

This session will take place at 9:20 a.m.


About our Presenter:

Eric Corey Freed, Sustainability Disruptor
With over 25 years licensed architect experience, Eric has helped architects, builders and homeowners use sustainability to improve the design and operational savings for thousands of buildings around the country. He has been a regular contributor for Greener Buildings, KBB Home, Sustainable Industries Journal, Luxe, Natural Home, Metropolitan Home and dozens of other publications, and lectures around the country at over 50 events a year.

Eric has served on the boards of the Human Health Initiative, the Inland Empire Chapter of the USGBC, Architects/Designers & Planners for Social Responsibility (ADPSR), West Coast Green, as well as the advisory boards of over a dozen other organizations. He was a founding board member and Chair of the Coachella Valley branch of the US Green Building Council, and served on the Sustainability Commission for the City of Palm Desert where he drafted visionary sustainability policies. He has received awards from several Mayors and worked with dozens of municipalities around the country to help implement sustainable policies.

13th North American Passive House Conference: 2 Workshops + Core Presentation


Learn the differences between SF, MF and Commerical/Institutional PHIUS+ Projects and understand the differences in large building MEP design approaches between code and PHIUS+ buildings with Prudence Ferreira, Passive House Practice Lead. She will be co-presenting two Pre-Conference Workshops and a Core Curriculum Session at this year’s annual North American Passive House Conference in Boston! Pre-Conference Workshops will take place September 19 and 20, the Core Conference will follow on September 21 and 22.

Prudence’s Core Curriculum presentation on the topic of WUFI and Hygrothermal Modeling Protocols will take place on Friday, September 21 at 4:15 p.m.

More information on the conference and associated workshops can be found here.

Overview – Pre-Conference Workshop: Advanced PHIUS + 2018 Commercial/Large MultiFamily WUFI Passive Energy Modeling

Passive building has moved quickly into larger multifamily and commercial building typologies over the past two years and it has become apparent that larger buildings require critical additional skills from the CPHC. Prudence and Maren both have been on the forefront of passive commercial and larger scale multifamily design in their practice and will present an overview and step by step guide of how to best set up the energy models for these larger building typologies. Don’t miss this class if you are moving into bigger buildings, it will prove invaluable!

This session will take place on September 19, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Register here.

Overview – Pre-Conference Workshop: PHIUS + MEP Design for Large Multifamily and Commercial Projects

This workshop will take a look at successful systems design for PHIUS+ projects. Galen as the mechanical engineer on the project and Prudence as the lead CPHC have worked together on large scale passive multifamily and commercial projects and will share their lessons learned and their protocols that they developed for those projects and that they found to work best. They have pioneered what is often lamented about: a successful integrated design process of MEP design and passive building envelope optimization.

This session will take place on September 20, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Register here.

About our Presenter

Prudence Ferreira, Passive House Practice Lead
Prudence is a senior member of Morrison Hershfield’s Building Performance Analysis team and serves as the firm’s Passive House Lead. She has modeled over 1.2 million square feet of passive projects including over 170 thousand square feet of non-residential and 920 dwelling units to date.  Ms. Ferreira is also a Certified Instructor for the Passive House Institute US and regularly teaches the Certified Passive House Consultant (CPHC) training, WUFI Passive modeling, and Advanced Hygrothermal Analysis around the US. She has trained over 600 CPHC’s, is a core contributor to CPHC training curriculum and credential exam. Prudence served on the PHIUS Board of Directors from 2011-2018 and is a founding member of the PHIUS Technical Committee. Ms. Ferreira has consulted on passive house projects across 7 different climate zones including sub-arctic, tropical and high altitude (Himalayan) locations.

NHICE: A New Era of Energy Codes in Canada


Christian Cianfrone, Building Energy Specialist, is presenting New Era of Energy Codes in Canada at the first International Conference on New Horizons in Green Civil Engineering (NHICE). This three-day conference takes place on April 25-27 in Victoria, British Columbia. The session will take place at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, April 26.

Presentation Overview:

As local, provincial and federal governments commit to deep greenhouse gas reductions, building energy codes are adapting to support these outcomes. In addition to greenhouse gas reductions, developing durable, comfortable and resilient buildings are priorities for jurisdictions. Critical to the development of these new energy codes is identifying the appropriate metrics and administrative requirements to achieve all the desired objectives. Using the City of Toronto’s Zero Emissions Building Framework and the City of Vancouver’s Zero Emissions Building Plan as examples, this presentation will show how a combination of global best practice research, big data analysis, and stakeholder engagement can lead to a robust energy policy over the long term.

Register to attend the New Horizons in Green Civil Engineering, here.

About the Presenter:

Christian Cianfrone, M.A.Sc., P.Eng., LEED AP BD+C – Principal and Building Energy Practice Lead
With over a decade of focused experience, Christian is one of Canada’s industry leaders in building energy efficiency, energy code and energy simulation. Having worked on hundreds of projects across North America, Christian represents Morrison Hershfield on numerous technical committees. He sits on the Energy and Engineering Technical Advisory Group (TAG) for the CaGBC, Chairs the USGBC Energy and Atmosphere TAG and has provided energy policy advice to some of Canada’s largest cities, including Vancouver, Calgary and Toronto. Christian has also been instrumental in developing and delivering professional education on current industry topics relating to energy efficiency, simulation, codes and ventilation.

Perth Tiny House & Green Home Festival: Passive House Performance & Materials


Jamie McKay, Sustainability and Building Science Specialist, will be presenting at this year’s Tiny House & Green Home Festival at Algonquin College’s Perth Campus.

Jamie will be speaking on the topics of Passive House performance and materials. This session will provide advice on less conventional material choices (high performance walls, windows, roof design, air barriers, vapour barriers, insulation, controlling rain, etc…) plus free internet tools, tricks and techniques to achieve high performance envelopes. This session will take place at 10:30 a.m.

About the Tiny House & Green Home Festival

The festival aims to inspire and explore options to reduce the ecological footprint in constructing and furnishing homes. The theme is energy efficient, sustainable and affordable housing.
There will be several tiny houses for public viewing, speakers addressing Green Living, Social Housing and New Technologies topics, exhibitors promoting related services and products, background music, food and kids’ activities for a festive atmosphere geared to entertain families and individuals of all ages.
There’s still time to purchase a ticket.

About the Presenter

Jamie McKay, P.Eng., LEED Fellow
Jamie McKay is a Building Science and Sustainability Consultant at Morrison Hershfield. He has over 25 years of sustainable building experience with a prime focus on projects in Central and Eastern Canada. He has worked on LEED and Green projects in the area of Building Science, specializing on high performance building envelope design and has taught and lectured across Canada on the subject. Jamie also has “secret” level of clearance (level II) with CISD.

Getting to Zero National Forum: Holistic Approach to Achieving Zero Energy High-Rise Residential Buildings


Building Energy Specialists, Patrick Roppel and Christian Cianfrone will jointly present Holistic Approach to Achieving Zero Energy High-Rise Residential Buildings at the 2018 Getting to Zero National Forum, in Pittsburgh, PA  on April 17-19, 2018. This session will take place at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, April 18.

Presentation Overview:

As codes and standards evolve towards ultra-low or net-zero energy buildings, the practicality of achieving these targets in multifamily, especially high-rise concrete construction gets increasingly challenging. The need for multifamily buildings are becoming more common as cities redevelop and add density. Current design and construction practice for high-rise in particular present a number of constraints including water, energy and sufficient solar with regards to achieving high levels of energy performance. The outcome of these combined constraints is often poor energy efficiency, with the burden of higher operating costs deferred to future owners. This talk explores the interconnected need for efficiency across all aspects becoming the primary consideration in residential buildings and what that will likely mean for the typical competing constraints.

Prospec 2018: Passive House and Commercial Construction


Medgar Marceau, Principal / Senior Building Science Engineer, is presenting Passive House and Commercial Construction: The Evolution of Residential Passive House Building Standards and the Application to Commercial Construction at this year’s CSI Puget Sound Prospec Conference!  This session is a part of the main seminar event and will take place at 3:00 p.m. on April 10.

Presentation Overview:

The accelerating growth of Passive House across the US and Canada is leading a change in the building envelope industry across the Pacific Northwest. With Vancouver’s new mandate to meet the Passive House standard for all city-owned commercial buildings, and Seattle’s progressively stricter energy codes, it’s only natural that our industry will have new challenges and opportunities to meet on the path to sustainability.

There is a large knowledge base of how to build durable residential buildings that meet the Passive House standard; however, there are few examples of commercial buildings meeting Passive House. This presentation will help bridge the knowledge gap between residential and commercial construction. Basic principles of Passive House are high levels of insulation, no thermal bridging, an airtight building, very high-performance windows and doors, heat and moisture recovery ventilation, and optimizing solar heat gains. All of this while ensuring occupant comfort and durability are paramount. Achieving these objective in Passive Commercial will require the same.

This presentation will discuss:

  • Acknowledging the challenges in translating Passive House to Passive Commercial
  • Solutions for minimizing thermal bridging in commercial construction
  • Solutions for an air-tight interior vapor retarder
  • Thermally efficient at-grade and below-grade transitions
  • Using 2-D and 3-D simulation tools to evaluate hygrothermal performance
  • Impact of 3-D Passive House Envelope Details on whole-building energy use

Passive House Northwest Conference Dinner: Sustainability Trends within Passive House


Eric Corey Freed, Sustainability Disruptor, will present Passive House Sustainability Trends at this year’s Passive House Northwest Conference Dinner. This year’s conference will be held on March 29-30th in Olympia, Washington. Eric’s session will take place on March 29th at 5:00 pm.

Conference Overview:

The Passive House Northwest Conference promotes sustainability, quality, and durability during the planning and construction process. As Passive House building becomes increasingly popular, energy use decreases by 80-90%.  Eric Corey Freed will be discussing the importance of sustainability and energy efficiency within Passive House.


University of Oregon Portland: Healthy Buildings for Everyone


Eric Corey Freed, Sustainability Disruptor and Consultant, will be presenting Healthy Buildings for Everyone: Tapping into Biology to Grow the Next Generation of Buildings at University of Oregon – Portland, White Stag Building on Wednesday, January 30th at 5:30 PM. The session is free and open to the public, registration is not required


Presentation Overview:

The way buildings are built today has remained relatively unchanged for nearly two hundred years. The $9 trillion a year global construction industry is responsible for nearly 60% of climate change emissions, a third of landfill waste and a shocking array of negative health effects.

Even the most advanced construction projects in the world continue to use ancient techniques of modular assembly, relying on painstaking human effort to construct dead & ancient materials of wood, steel and concrete. Construction is driven by standards and codes to ensure economy and safety, but in the process fail to protect people from larger risks.

In 2016, the XPRIZE Foundation set out to establish a “moonshot” for construction by creating the XPRIZE for Healthy Buildings. In this session, learn how one team approached this unique opportunity to develop a way to (literally) grow buildings by fusing synthetic biology, genomics, parametric modeling, and 3D printing to create a paradigm shift that could switch us from a PETROchemical world, to a BIOchemical one.