Dave Madden and Molly Bell stand outside one of the Passive House condominiums on the Nakusp waterfront. These will be the eighth, ninth, and tenth Passive House units in British Columbia. (Jillian Trainor/Arrow Lakes News)

Dave Madden and Molly Bell stand outside one of the Passive House condominiums on the Nakusp waterfront. These will be the eighth, ninth, and tenth Passive House units in British Columbia. (Jillian Trainor/Arrow Lakes News)

A passive method for building homes in Nakusp

After deciding to build three condos, Molly Bell heard about the idea of making Passive Houses.

Molly Bell moved to Nakusp two years ago looking for satisfactory seniors housing. When she didn’t find anything, she decided to build her own.

After purchasing property on the waterfront to build her home, she discovered the property was actually zoned multi-family or residential plus commercial, meaning she couldn’t build a single-family dwelling there.

After deciding to build three condominiums instead, she was introduced to the idea of making the condos Passive Houses.

A Passive House is a rigorous, voluntary standard for energy efficiency in a building, reducing its ecological footprint. It results in buildings that require little energy for space-heating or cooling. They promise an energy usage of 15 per cent compared to conventional construction.

“It’s three condos and then the coach house has a rental unit upstairs,” she said. “I’d like to combine that with a caretaker who gets a reduction in their rent for taking care of anything that needs to be done.”

The main level is about 900 square feet, while the upstairs part of the condo is about 500 square feet.

Everything is very open concept.

Any and all doorways are wheelchair accessible, and the showers are larger enough that a person can enter and exit in a wheelchair. All light switches are at a height that can be accessed from a wheelchair as well.

The homes each have a private patio, but they share a common garden. This garden faces Nakusp’s waterfront, with a magnificent view of Saddle Mountain.

At the time this article was written, all three homes were bare of furnishings. Construction on the condos is expected to be complete around mid-summer.

Once finished, these will be the eighth, ninth, and 10th Passive Houses in British Columbia.

While looking for an architect for the project, Bell became acquainted with Dave Madden, owner of Madden Timber Construction Inc. in Nakusp.

“We had mutual friends that told me what Molly was planning to build,” he said. “It was in the concept stage, and it seemed like something that I was interested in and had the skill set to take on.”

This is the first time Madden has built anything like this, who said the experience has been very educational.

Certain criteria must be met in order to be listed as a Passive House. Examples of this include the space-heating energy demand, which can’t exceed 15 kWh per square meter of net living space per year, and the total energy to be used for all domestic applications such as heating, hot water and domestic electricity must not exceed 60 kWh per square meter of treated floor area per year.

Madden and his crew briefly had the chance to experience firsthand what it would be like to live in a Passive House while working on the interior of the houses over the winter months.

“I didn’t know much about the certified Passifide House science before we started, and learning through that process and building it hands-on enlightened us to just how much energy savings can be achieved through really high building quality,” he said.

Throughout the building process, Bell has has nothing but praise for the employees of Madden Timber Construction Inc.

“Dave has been absolutely amazing through the whole thing,” she said. “His whole crew is just top notch. All the work is really high quality, I’m really happy with everything.”

Along with employing a local contractor to do the job, Bell has also hired as many local painters, electricians, carpenters, plumbers and more for the job. Even local material is used when possible. All the flooring, exterior siding, kitchen cupboards, and interior doors are manufactured from local wood.

Bell and Madden have also done their best to combine what is aesthetically pleasing with what is functional and required by law.

While building the Passive Houses has been an enjoyable experience, there have been challenges along the way, though thankfully nothing insurmountable. It’s mainly been not being able to get certain equipment at a certain time, or dealing with things beyond anyone’s control.

Bell plans on living in one of the houses, and selling the other two. While there has been interest from those who would like to purchase one of the homes, Bell is holding back from showing the houses for now until they are a little bit more complete.

She and Madden look forward to when the Passive Houses are ready for occupancy.

“It’s been a really good experience, bigger than I thought, but I think that’s pretty standard for lots of projects,” Bell concluded. “There’s always a few bumps and lumps, but I’m happy with what’s happened, it’s been great.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

A view of the Passive House condominiums from the waterfront. Along with a view of the water, homeowners will be treated to a fabulous view of Saddle Mountain. (Jillian Trainor/Arrow Lakes News)

A view of the Passive House condominiums from the waterfront. Along with a view of the water, homeowners will be treated to a fabulous view of Saddle Mountain. (Jillian Trainor/Arrow Lakes News)

A view of the Passive House condominiums from the waterfront. Along with a view of the water, homeowners will be treated to a fabulous view of Saddle Mountain. (Jillian Trainor/Arrow Lakes News)

A view of the Passive House condominiums from the waterfront. Along with a view of the water, homeowners will be treated to a fabulous view of Saddle Mountain. (Jillian Trainor/Arrow Lakes News)

A closeup view of the patios for the new Passive House condominiums in Nakusp. While the gardens are common, each patio is private. (Jillian Trainor/Arrow Lakes News)

A closeup view of the patios for the new Passive House condominiums in Nakusp. While the gardens are common, each patio is private. (Jillian Trainor/Arrow Lakes News)

Just Posted

Interfor’s Castlegar mill is getting $35 million in upgrades. Photo by: John Boivin
Interfor to invest $35 million at Castlegar mill

Project will enhance productivity and competitiveness

A medical worker prepares vials of the COVID-19 vaccines, Chinese Sinopharm, left, Sputnik V, center, and Pfizer at a vaccine centre, in the Usce shopping mall in Belgrade, Serbia, Thursday, May 6, 2021. Serbian authorities are looking for incentives for people to boost vaccination that has slowed down in recent weeks amid widespread anti-vaccination and conspiracy theories in the Balkan nation. The government has also promised a payment of around 25 euros to everyone who gets vaccinated by the end of May. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)
38 new COVID-19 cases, more than 335k vaccines administered in Interior Health

Interior Health also to start targeted vaccinations in high transmission neighbourhoods

FILE PHOTO
Second doses of COVID-19 vaccine will be available, as AstraZeneca supply runs low: Interior Health

Province expecting large volumes of Pfizer BioNTech as age-based cohort immunization program ramps up

Greg Nesteroff and Eric Brighton, the historians behind popular Facebook page Lost Kootenays, are set to release a book of the same name and have just unveiled its cover showing the ghostly Hotel in Slocan City shortly before its 1953 demolition. Photo courtesy of Greg Nesteroff and Eric Brighton.
Popular historical Facebook page Lost Kootenays set to release book

128-page hard copy documenting history of East and West Kootenays coming this fall

Paul Chung is working as an early childhood educator at Cornerstone Children’s Centre in Nelson. Photo: Bill Metcalfe
Immigration pilot targets hard-to-fill jobs in West Kootenay

Program helps newcomers get permanent residency status in rural areas

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid (97) celebrates his 100th point this season with Leon Draisaitl (29) against the Vancouver Canucks during second period NHL action in Edmonton on Saturday, May 8, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Edmonton superstar McDavid hits 100-point mark as Oilers edge Canucks 4-3

NHL scoring leader needs just 53 games to reach century mark

A map showing where the most number of cases were recorded from April 23 to 29. This map, revealing a breakdown of infections by neighborhood, was pulled from a data package leaked to the Vancouver Sun last week (and independently verified).
36 Abbotsford schools flagged for COVID-19 exposures in the last 2 weeks, shattering record

Clearbrook Elementary recorded an ‘exposure’ on all 11 school days

Canada’s chief public health officer is reminding Canadians even those who are fully vaccinated are not immune from transmitting the COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns full vaccination does not equal full protection from COVID-19

Post-inoculation, Theresa Tam says the risk of asymptomatic infection and transmission is far lower but not obsolete

The dash cam footage, taken May 7 at 8:18 a.m. belonged to the driver of a southbound vehicle that recently travelled out of the tunnel. (Reddit/Screen grab)
VIDEO: Dash cam captures dramatic rollover crash on Highway 99

Only one person sustained injuries from the collision, says B.C. Ambulance Services

Chevy stranded on a ledge above a rocky canyon at Mimi Falls near Logan Lake, April 28, 2021. (Photo credit: Margot Wikjord)
Police officer and fire chief team up in risky rescue of stranded dog near Logan Lake

Chevy, a rescue dog, needed rescuing again after getting stuck on a ledge above rocky canyon

Police were on the scene of a fatal shooting in Abbotsford. (Black Press Media files)
B.C. government to give more than $8 million for programs to curb gang violence

221 not-for-profit projects led by local governments and school districts among others will receive a one-time grant

Gord Judson steers his log truck down a forest service road, using two-way radio and call signals to mark his position for oncoming traffic. (B.C. Forest Safety Council)
Planning some B.C. wilderness fishing? Don’t catch a log truck

Remote recreation areas bracing for heavy pandemic pressure

Most Read