Carraig Ridge Net Zero Passive House

Location Alberta, Canada
Design Principal Steven Rainville
Design Mentor Tom Kundig

Carraig Ridge Passive House is a prototype for nine variant houses to be developed in a cluster of 3-5 acre lots. The development of a small portion of the property will partially fund the creation of a 4,000 acre nature reserve.

The goal is to create a building with a 300 year life span, with the aim that working within the inherent constraints presented by this timeline will produce innovative results. Additionally, the building must meet passive house standards—a super energy efficient standard that aims to slash heating energy consumption of buildings by 90%. Because of the rising cost of energy, we aimed for 4kbtu’s/ SF per year.

The best designed buildings are the ones that people care for the most. A building must win users’ affections in order to ensure its survival. It’s a form of natural selection. To this end, the design fosters a rich relationship between the building and landscape. Burrowing into the earth and stretching out to the prairie, hovering above the ground and being sheltered by the trees, the design offers multiple prospects and a variety of refuges.

A desire for efficiency, durability, and minimal site impact strongly influence the structural design. Pieces of the building are pre-fabricated, shipped, and assembled on-site, reducing waste and damage to the landscape. This necessitates close relationships between the architects, manufacturers and fabricators. Working as a team on the digital model leads to quality and precision in assembly. Easy to assemble and disassembled, the building ensures its continuing relevance.

Left: Typical Passive House, 20% Glass; Right: Optimized Passive House, 40% Glass; Below: Carraig Ridge Passive House, 80% Glass

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