RMOW Sustainability Coordinator
"Though it's cold and lonely in the deep dark night, I can see paradise by the dashboard light." These Meatloaf lyrics are etched in my mind, a crucial line from the first ever record I bought with my own money. I think it was 1976...
Flash-forward to 2011 where the paradise we can see in Whistler's future is a kinder, more energy efficient place lit by the light of webpage dashboard... not Meatloaf's Cadillac. And the dashboard is not connected to a V8 motor; it's connected to the Lost Lake PassivHaus.
An innovative partnership between the Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW), Pulse Energy and BC Hydro has produced an Energy Management Information System (EMIS) for the Lost Lake PassivHaus and anyone, around the world, can watch how the PassivHaus is performing, in real time, online.
The just-launched energy monitoring software collects building energy data for both the building as a whole as well as the small heat pump that resides in the building's ventilation system. It has both an internal interface that allows staff to access detailed reporting, monitoring, and analysis tools - and therefore make more informed decisions about the buildings energy performance - as well as public "dashboard" to transparently share the raw performance data to anyone else that is interested in passive house technology and performance
The PassivHaus is located at the main entrance to Lost Lake Park, between the upper and lower villages and a short walk from the Village Stroll. A year ago, the building was home to the Austrian Olympic Committee and Austria Public Broadcasting, which broadcast live Games coverage to European audiences during the 2010 Winter Games. Post Games, the building was gifted to the RMOW, and was converted to a Nordic skiing and mountain biking day lodge, office and meeting space for WORCA and Whistler Nordics, complete with a public concession and rental shop.
The construction of a Passive House requires airtight seams and above average insulating values, as well as a design strategy that substantially reduces thermal bridging in the building envelope. To maintain passive house certification, the building must use less than 15kWh/m2/year for heat, and no more than 120 kWh/m2/year for total primary energy consumption. As such, passive houses use up to 90 percent less energy than a traditionally built home and approximately 50 percent less than a LEED Platinum house.
"From an energy performance perspective, the Lost Lake PassivHaus is an incredible building," says RMOW Community Energy Manager, Ted Battiston. "Current performance suggests that it will cost less than $300/year to heat this 2,700 square foot building while typical construction would yield a value closer to $3000/year. Sharing on-the-ground performance with anyone who is considering this approach to building will hopefully accelerate the uptake of Passive House principles across BC."
The Lost Lake PassivHaus aligns well with the priorities outlined in Whistler2020, Whistler's comprehensive sustainability plan and vision. It's a highly efficient building that will use virtually no energy for its heating, cooling and ventilation needs. With extremely low operation costs and the long-term community benefit it provides Whistler residents, the Lost Lake PassivHaus provides a lasting benefit to all users.
To check out the performance of the Lost Lake PassivHaus, visit: http://my.pulseenergy.com/WhistlerPassivhaus/dashboard/ , or www.whistler.ca and follow the links.
Want to know more about Whistler2020? Check out www.whistler2020.ca.