Passive house, photo credit: Kingdom Home Builders, 2018

Build a Passive House

Zero Emissions Building Exchange (ZEBx)

ZEBx is a centre of excellence to increase knowledge, capacity, and passion for cost-effective and low energy buildings.

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How to get Passive House certification

Passive House certification is a quality assurance process that determines whether a project meets all of the requirements of the Passive House standard.

It confirms that the building has been designed to achieve high levels of occupant comfort and energy performance.

The primary criteria for achieving Passive House certification:

  • Space Heat Demand: Maximum 15 kWh/m²a or heating load maximum 10 W/m²
  • Air Tightness: Maximum 0.6 ACH @ 50 Pa (pressurizing and depressurizing)
  • Total Primary Energy Renewable (PER): Maximum 60 kWh/m²a

Learn more about the Passive House standard  (500 KB) and certification process .

All rezoning applications submitted after May 1, 2017, will be required to meet near zero or low emissions buildings. This requirement can be met by constructing to the Passive House standard.

Read more details in the Green Buildings Policy for Rezoning - Process and Requirements Bulletin  (360 KB).

Passive House in Zoning

We are continually working to remove barriers within the regulatory framework to facilitate Certified Passive House designs.

Applicants are required to meet the Passive House standard and successfully certify the project as a Certified Passive House in order to be eligible for related relaxations.

Benefits of a Passive House

A Passive House produces very low operating emissions relative to standard buildings and creates:

  • High air quality levels
  • Even temperature distribution
  • Low noise levels 
  • Reduced heating and cooling costs

Relaxations in RS Zones

Conditional relaxations are available for Certified Passive House projects in various zones. These include relaxation of:

  • Height
  • Rear yard setback
  • Building depth

These allowances exist to accommodate Certified Passive House features such as increased thermal insulation that result in a thicker building envelope.

For more information on what conditional relaxations are available for homes and the permit application process, refer to the Passive House Relaxations - Guidelines for Residences in RS Districts PDF file (140 KB)

Applicants may also consult the relevant regulation and the related Zoning Bylaw Administration Bulletins related to Passive Design.

Passive House trained staff

Ask if any of our Passive House-trained development planners, project coordinators, project facilitators, or inspectors are available to be assigned to your project.

Conditional relaxations are also available for larger Certified Passive House projects in various zones.

These allowances exist to accomodate Certified Passive House features such as increased thermal insulation that result in a thicker building envelope.

For more information on what conditional relaxations are available for homes and the permit application process, refer to the Passive House Relaxations - Guidelines for Larger Projects PDF file (180 KB)

Conditional allowances for larger projects

Refer to the following list of conditional allowances pertaining to other building types and the corresponding Zoning By-law section.

Conditional allowances Zoning bylaw
Allow floor area exclusion for increased insulation Zoning By-law, Section 10.33
Allow green walls to project into required yard Zoning By-law, Section 10.7.1
Allow floor area exclusion for venting skylights, opening clerestory windows, or other similar features RS, RT, RM, C-3A and I-C3 District schedules in Zoning By-law, Section 4.7.2 (or 4.7.3) (or 4.7.4)
Allow increase in building height for venting skylights, opening clerestory windows, or other similar features Zoning By-law, Section 10.11.1
Relax building height regulations for roof-mounted energy technologies and to provide access to green roofs Zoning By-law, Section 10.11.1
Relax side yard and overhang requirements for fixed external shading devices Zoning By-law, Section 10.7.1

Applicants may also consult the relevant regulation and the related Zoning Bylaw Administration Bulletings related to Passive Design.

Passive House trained staff

Ask if any of our Passive House-trained development planners, project coordinators, project facilitators, or inspectors are available to be assigned to your project.

What is a Passive House?

Passive House Explained in 90 Seconds from Hans-Jörn Eich on Vimeo.

The Passive House standard:

Passive Design Toolkit

Passive home guidelines

This toolkit outlines passive design practices fundamental to achieving the Passive House standard criteria in Vancouver.

Online resources, training, and case studies

Passive House Canada is an online resource that supports the Passive House standard, relevant training, membership, case studies of existing projects, and access to services such as Passive House certifiers. Find more resources from Passive House Canada:

Passipedia  is managed by the International Passive House Association, and acts as a comprehensive knowledge base for Passive House projects around the world.

Learn more

Energy-efficiency requirements and resources for new homes

All homes must be designed for energy efficiency. Learn how to comply with the Vancouver Building Bylaw for your new home up to 6 storeys.

Zero emissions buildings

We are working to have no GHG emissions from all new buildings by 2030. Learn how we’ll get there.