Fort St. John Passive House Performance and Cost Review – Credit: City of Fort St. John

“AGGRESSIVLEY – PASSIVE” was the title chosen by the City of Fort. St John for it’s first certified Passive House – currently the northernmost in North America. Completed in 2014, it is also the first detached certified Passive House in Canada plus one of the first to also be awarded LEED Platinum Standard. Upon completion, caretakers resided in the home using it as a Living Lab, monitoring the energy consumption. energy production, indoor temperature, living comfort and also looked closely at the cost of operation and construction.

Fort St. John Passive House, BC, Canada

1. Construction Costs:

The construction costs of $ 276.-/sqf compare favourably with other average homes in Fort St. John. The average house cost in 2014 was between $250 and $350 per square foot depending on the finishing details chosen. Costs for this house were kept lower partly by choosing economical interior finishing options and there are some costs savings in no need to buy a large furnace.

Fort St. John Passive House under construction

2. Energy Consumption:

The Fort St. John Passive House consumes ~ 84% less energy than the average Canadian home does or ~500 Kwh per month, including photovoltaic energy production. The biggest energy users are the hot water tank, the fridge, the stove and the lights.

Passive House Energy Consumption


3. Energy Production

The 3.75 Kwh solar photovoltaic array had the lowest energy production during the winter months (also due to snow build-up), while the energy consumption was the highest during that period. During the summer months more energy was produced than consumed.

Annual Energy Produced by month Passive House Fort St. John


Energy Production Passive House Fort St. John


4. Living Lab:

Real People = real data. From August 2015 to September 2016 two caretakers lived in the Passive House. They turned on the heat when it was cold, used the stove and laundry facilities and accidentally left the lights on – just like we all do. This produced real data based on real people.

Passive House Heating Energy Consumption

During this living lab experiment there were many public tours. Classrooms of children toured the house, open houses hosted dozens of people at a time and special groups booked private tours. Visitors got to see the house and feel the temperature with the doors opening and closing and when the house was packed. They experienced first-hand the even temperature, fresh air and just how quiet the house is even when a truck rolls by the street.

Fort St. John Passive House-Photo Credit: Jessica Harrison

What lessons did the caretakers learn? Close the blinds on hot days to keep the sun out, open the windows in the evenings on warm days for  a cool breeze. Best of all, living in a house with no dust and even temperatures is awesome.

You can read the entire Passive House project ‘s story on the Fort St. John webpage:

For additional info on this project please visit us at or feel free contact as if you have any questions.