About the project

Logo by Francis Katsu

Wolfe Island Passive House is an ongoing project to build a sustainable, self-reliant, highly efficient but also small, affordable and replicable family home on Wolfe Island in South-Eastern Ontario, Canada. We had been told that we could be the first Certified Passive House in Ontario but Casa Toruga, just north of us, got there first – well done!

We have documented the process from the design stage through to completion throughout 2015, 2016 and into early 2017 when the place was officially finished. The original aim was that we would be able to move in before Christmas 2015, however since we changed the way the house was going to be built entirely half way through the year, things did not even get started until the autumn. The revised aim was to have a waterproof shell by the end of 2015, and to work on the inside throughout the winter. That didn’t quite happen either, and we then hoped to have the house insulated and roofed by the end of February 2016, only to have that date slip by too. We got there in May! We then hoped to be moving in during October 2016. We missed that, but not by much. We finally had a liveable house and were able to move in in December 2016. We came through our second winter, 2017 / 2018, the house performed beautifully, and we got a lot of interior shelving and storage and finished the Japanese room upstairs. In 2018-19, apart from just living happily here, we have been mainly concentrating on more interior shelving and storage, demolishing the old house and doing some landscaping work. At some point, we hope to finally install a solar photovoltaic system and take the house entirely off-grid, but Canada is frustratingly behind the times on the latest solar and home battery technologies so it might even be 2020 or even later before we do this.

For more details on what a Passive House (in the original German, ‘passivhaus’) is, see here. Further, we’re aiming to meet the Zero-Net Energy and Zero-Net Heat ideals. If you imagine a house that is so well-designed and well-insulated that it needs no heating in the coldest Ontario winters and no air-conditioning in the stickiest summers, and that generates all its own power, you get the picture.

For details of all of the individuals and companies involved, please see the Suppliers and Contractors page.

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