Passive House will get a major boost in Vancouver with new Builder “FEEBATE” Program

Passive House will get a major boost in Vancouver with new “FEEBATE” Program  – Increasing Energy Efficiency without Impacting Affordability 

by Ayme Sharma

Starting end of this year, Vancouver builders will be eligible for a refund of up to $20,000 for building permits, development permits and other fees for new homes under the proposed Building Bylaw amendments if passed by City Council in September (which it is anticipated to do).  This “feebate” program is aimed at new 1&2 family homes including laneway and infill housing and works as follows: the higher the EnerGuide rating, the higher the refund to a maximum of $20.000.

Since our Passive House designs achieve a minimum EnerGuide 88 rating without the use of renewable energy sources, we expect that Passive House projects will qualify for the highest feebate refund level.

Casa Pasiva Infill

If you are building a new house or own a home in Vancouver, it is likely that you will also be considering a secondary suite, laneway home or infill home on your lot.  The City of Vancouver is in the process of amending the Laneway Housing Program to allow for more laneway housing (LWH) by:

–       Expanding the program to other single family zones

–       Providing more floor area for living space and storage

–       Encouraging more 1-storey laneway homes by relaxing setback requirements thereby reducing bulk and loss of privacy issues associated with 1-1/2 storey LWH

–       Speeding up the permitting process


Lots that are eligible for a LWH:

 –      Lots that are at least 32’ wide

–       Lots on an open lane, double fronting or a corner lot with a lane dedication

–       Lots with a single-family house or single-family house with suite

Together the Feebate program and the LWH amendments will increase the affordability of energy efficient housing in Vancouver.

Casa Pasiva Infill

Casa Pasiva Infill

Some RS zones permit multiple-family housing.  In these zones, infill houses can be built rather than LWH. Infill housing is not as restrictive as LWH and can be stratified.  We are currently close to achieving building permit for an ultra low-energy infill home in Vancouver.   This house is on target to achieve an EnerGuide rating of 88/89. Although infill housing is different than LWH, they are similar in scale.

 As part of the ReTHINK Competition, Marken Projects in collaboration with Red Door Energy Advisors made the case for a Passive House Prefab Duplex as the most affordable way to build and live in this city. Following this proposal, we are continuing our investigation by developing a prototypical duplex.

Passive House Duplex Massing Study

Passive House Duplex Massing Study

Our team is working on an adaptable, conceptual design for a Passive House Prefab Duplex for a typical RT5 zoned 122’ x 33’ Vancouver lot.  We are currently in the early schematic design stage and are designing this duplex to meet the following criteria:

–       Meet the stringent Passive House Energy Standard

–       Achieve an EnerGuide rating of 88+

–       Qualify for the maximum refund under the Feebate Program (up $20,000)

–       Utilize high-quality prefab construction

–       Affordable construction

–       Adaptable to different neighbor and client scenarios

–       Include a secondary suite

If you are interested in learning more about our Passive House Prefab Duplex concept or if you have questions in regards to Laneway & Infill housing, please contact us at