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Brownsword Passive House
Bowen Island, British Columbia, Canada

#Passive House #Coast #CAT6 Electrical

Bowen Island Klearwall Awning Window
Bowen Island Passive House Electrical System
bowen-island-passive-house rendering

The Brownsword Passive House is located on Bowen Island, BC just off the coast of Vancouver.


A quote from our clients says it all, "This house holds its temperature SOOOOO much better than that old cabin.  And there is SOOOO much better light. What a transformation of living conditions, you have no idea…."

The house was site built and the final mid-construction blower door test the resulted in an air change rate of 0.56 ACH@50.

The Owner custom built the low voltage lighting and HVAC controls system. The house is fully automated including everything from LED lighting to HRV controls all accessible via smartphone.

This amazing house was featured in the Bowen Island Undercurrent news

The Specs

Treated Floor Area according to PHPP

202 sm (2,179 sf)

Construction Type - wood framed, site built

Year of Construction - 2015



  • Designer - Brett Sichello Design - Passive House Designer and Energy Modeling Consultant

  • Structural - Jeff Allester Engineering

  • Mechanical - Hydraft Development

  • Builder - Blomberg Brothers Construction


Thermal Envelope

Exterior Wall - Effective U-Value 0.135 W/(m2k) - R42

  • 16mm 5/8" Engineered Hardwood Flooring - 0.18 W/(mK)

  • 127mm 5" Reinforced Concrete Slab - 2.1 W/(mK)

  • 6mm Poly Vapour Barrier - all seams taped and sealed and tied in to exterior wall vapour retarder

  • 356mm 14" EPS Rigid Insulation - 0.035 W/(mK)

Slab on Grade - Effective U-Value 0.095 W(m2K) - R60

  • 16mm 5/8" Bamboo Flooring - 0.18 W/(mK)

  • 19mm 3/4" Plywood Decking - 0.13 W/(mK)

  • 140mm 2x6" Wood Studs @ 16" o.c. with R22 Fibreglass Batt Insulation - 0.037 W/(mK) 10% framing

  • 15mm 19/32" OSB - Airtight Layer (all seams taped and sealed with SIGA or Proclima tapes - 0.013 W/(mK)

  • 406mm 16" Engineered I-Joist @ 24" o.c. with Densepack Cellulose Insulation - 0.038 W/(mK) 4% framing

  • 16mm Agepan DWD Fibreboard - 0.045 W/(mK)

Due to the challenging site which was located on the top of bedrock knoll, a traditional foundation wall and footing was required due to structural and seismic concerns. The potential thermal bridge that occurs from the un-insulated footing into the foundation wall and wood framed exterior wall has been minimized by insulating the foundation wall on both sides with 2-5/8" EPS Rigid Insulation from the top of the wall to the top of the footing. The slab to foundation wall connection is thermally broken with rigid insulation.

Roof - Effective U-Value 0.073 W(m2K) - R78

  • 12.7mm 1/2" gypsum board - 0.025 W/(mK)

  • 140mm 2x6" wood stud @ 24" o.c with R22 Roxul Comfortbatt Mineral Wool Insulation - 0.037 W/(mK) 15% framing

  • Air/Vapour Control Layer - Proclima DB+ - all seams taped and sealed with Proclima tapes

  • Engineered Truss @ 24" o.c. with 610mm 24" Blown In Cellulose Insulation - 0.038 W/(mK) 8% framing

  • Airspace for Vented Roof Assembly

  • 12.7mm 1/2" Plywood Sheathing

  • Roofing Underlayment

  • Westform Metals Prolock Standing Seam Metal Roof



Frames: Klearwall Futureproof Uw = 0.65 to 0.83 W/(m2K)


  1. South Elevation - South Elevation - g-Value - 0.61, Ug-Value - 0.62 W/(m2K), VT 71%

  2. East and West Elevations - g-Value - 0.49, Ug-Value - 0.51 W/(m2K), VT 64%

  3. North Elevation - g-Value - 0.39, Ug-Value - 0.51 W/(m2K), VT 57%

Mechanical Systems Ventilation

Ultimate Air 200DX - Heat Recovery Efficiency 80.1%


Heating and Cooling

Radiant Exergy Heating and Cooling system with pex tubing running from two buffer tanks connected to the the heat pump which distributes the energy to aluminum plates secured to the underside of the second floor framing and roof service channel framing. An additional pex line runs from the buffer tanks to a heat exchanger in between the HRV and main supply air distribution box to heat/cool the ventilation air. When cooling, the lines can not be ran below 18 C or condensation could occur however this is more than cool on even the hottest of days.

  • Domestic Hot Water: Hot water tank.

  • Drain water heat recovery supplements up to 30% of the total water heating requirements.


PHPP Values

  • Air Tightness: n50 = 0.60 ACH

  • Annual Heating Demand: 14.28 kWh/(m2a)

  • Heating Load: 11.0 W/m2

  • Primary Energy Requirement: 103 kWh/(m2a) - to be verified

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