Prefabrication with Passive Design for Northern Locations in Canada such as Yellowknife

Aiming to design and build a quality and energy efficiency home in remote areas where materials and labor are not readily available or very pricey can be challenging both financially and logistically. Products and equipment are not always in stock and have often to be ordered long in advance and be shipped from larger Cities 100’s of kilometres  away.  Also, professionals and trades are high in demand what drives up soft costs with only a small seasonal window available where working outside is possible.

One Solution = Prefabrication. 

High Performance Prefab Canada - Marken Projects Design Studio

High Performance Prefab Canada – Marken Projects Design Studio

There is now a growing number of quality prefab manufacturers in Canada for both, residential and commercial buildings, who are able provide a cost efficient, high quality option for manufacturing parts or all of your home/building off site and ship it onsite for quick assembly. Materials have to be shipped anyways – why not opting for a turn-key solution. While there are different prefab options available, we found high performance panelized prefabrication to have several advantages over modular and other prefab offerings including:

–        Reasonable transportation costs

–        Easier logistics – several transportation options incl. train or ship

–        No restrictions to architectural design – flexible interior design

–        Medium crane onsite sufficient for assembly

–        Quick Assembly: ~3-5 days for a Single family home

–        Achieve ultra air tightness i.e. for Passive House Standard 0.6 ACH

–        Save up to 90% energy on heating and cooling

–        Environmentally friendly insulation and high R-Values

–        Main material = wood = renewable material

–        Great attention to thermal bridge free construction

–        High quality green materials used

–        Reduces Construction waste significantly – Manufactured Indoors

–        Panels can be manufactured and then stored till assembly

High Performance Prefab Canada - Marken Projects Design Studio

This is how the process works:

The prefab firm takes the architectural drawings, which have been designed along Passive House principles with a specific prefab concept in mind, and produces it’s own shop drawings to manufacture the panels which come in sizes of up to 25 feet in length and 10 feet in height.  The wall, floor and roof panels also come in different thicknesses depending on the energy and thermal comfort goal with windows preinstalled where applicable and desired. An integrated design process from the very beginning is crucial to ensure efficient planning and construction. The panels will be assembled by a professional crew.

Yellowknife NW Territories - At the Edge of the Arctic

Yellowknife NW Territories – At the Edge of the Arctic

Good examples where panelized prefabrication could significantly change the way homes and buildings are currently being constructed are located in Canada’s North including remote communities such as Yellowknife. Located in the North West Territories at the edge of the artic, Yellowknife is home to about 20,000 people who consider themselves ecofriendly promoting walking and biking (even at -50C), energy efficiency home construction and renewable energy sources. What better environment to apply the Passive Design Principles paired with energy efficient prefabrication for every home and building planned making it affordable, energy efficiency, durable and comfortable all year round.

 This is how your home could be constructed:    (Credit Hanse Haus)

Interested to learn more?  Marken Projects has completed several prefab projects including Canada’s Northernmost Prefab Passive House – check it out (click on the image):

Fort St. John Passive House - Marken Projects Design Studio

Fort St. John Passive House – Marken Projects Design Studio

For more info on the high performance prefab and the design process, please contact us at