High Performance Prefabrication for Passive House & Low Energy Buildings
Slowly but surely, construction practices developed and employed over the last 20 years in Europe are making their way to North America. Departing from the “2×4 mentality” seems to be harder for some, although I believe it makes perfect sense. The prefabrication of building components, such as exterior walls, roof and floors as large panel systems with swift onsite assembly, has numerous advantages, if done properly. One company has started doing just that, using environmentally friendly cellulose blow-in insulation to fill large wall and roof panels with surprisingly solid U-values suitable for different climate zones. BC Passive House’s Prefab Panelized System is currently used for projects in moderate climates, such as the Lower Mainland or Vancouver Island, but also in colder climates, such as Fort St. John where winter temperatures can drop lower than -30 degrees celsius.
What we like about this product is its supreme quality and the fact that it uses wood, has a firm price, and allows a building shell to be erected within a few days, which can save the owner months in construction time. Also notable is that these diffusion-open, “breathable” panels are constructed indoors under controlled conditions using environmentally preferable materials, such as the cellulose blow-in insulation. And at the end of the day, when it always comes down to price, the Prefab Panels are very competitive, from what we have seen. Certainly, the savings lay less in the built costs, and more in the reduction of construction time and related savings. Down the road, durability and performance will add value and bring piece of mind.
Have a look at the assembly of these panels at the Whistler Passive House Duplex: