Harmless Home and Passivehaus: residences that help you get to zero carbon


We liked the look of this eco-house - its lego-like construction, its wildly sustainable materials, and its dramatic location. More from Canada’s Global News: 

A Vancouver Island home built using cutting-edge green technology is now move-in ready.

It’s called the “Harmless Home,” and the exterior walls are constructed out of Lego-like building blocks, made essentially of compressed hemp, lime and water. Now, it’s being hailed as the most sustainable, safest and most energy-efficient house possible.

Home owner, Arno Keinonen recently settled in. “We are very happy with the end result,” he said.

The product itself is being manufactured in Calgary. It doesn’t mould and is virtually fire-resistant.

“We heat it up to over 1,500 degrees Fahrenheit and it barely has an impact,” said Just Bio Fiber builder Mark Faber. “Very unlikely for this house to catch fire.” The blocks also absorb carbon, making them grow even stronger over time. As for the cost, it’s in line with other alternatives.

“With those aspects and the condition the world is in now, this just has to go – it just hast to,” said Just Bio Fiber Director, Michael DeChamplain.

The “Harmless Home” was the first project of its kind, and two more are now in the works. The hope is to make this a standard in the building industry, Faber explained.

“So far, we’ve seen that it is easy to use and put together — once we develop and really dial in the system, I think we’ll be able to be competitive with all other building systems out there.”

The home, located just outside Victoria, will continue to be monitored to make sure it’s operating as efficiently as possible.

 READ MORE:This ‘Lego-inspired’ Sooke home will be green – and fireproof – when it’s finished:

On the theme of sustainable house builds, we note that the UK’s Passivehaus & Zero Carbon conference is on at Leeds Beckett University next week, 13th Nov. Passivehaus is a German derived model of energy-neutral house construction, as explained by their UK operation

Passivhaus buildings provide a high level of occupant comfort while using very little energy for heating and cooling. They are built with meticulous attention to detail and rigorous design and construction according to principles developed by the Passivhaus Institute in Germany, and can be certified through an exacting quality assurance process.

“The heat losses of the building are reduced so much that it hardly needs any heating at all. Passive heat sources like the sun, human occupants, household appliances and the heat from the extract air cover a large part of the heating demand. The remaining heat can be provided by the supply air if the maximum heating load is less than 10W per square metre of living space. If such supply-air heating suffices as the only heat source, we call the building a Passive House.”

Univ. Prof. Dr Wolfgang Feist Head of Energy Efficient Construction/ Building Physics at the University of Innsbruck, Austria and Director of the Passive House Institute, Darmstadt, Germany.