If you happen to come across some ice at Olympic Village Square over the next several weeks – don’t worry – winter hasn’t come early.
The two enormous blocks of ice, weighing nearly a tonne each, are there as part of the BC Passive House Ice Box Challenge, launched today by Passive House Canada, Vancity, the City of Vancouver, and the Vancouver Park Board.
Each block of ice has been placed in its own structure – one built to BC’s current building code, the other built to an energy-efficient Passive House Standard. From July 27 until August 14, the structures will weather the elements and the public is invited to guess how much ice will be left in each house at the end of the competition.
“If I had to guess, I would say that the ice in the regular house will be completely melted within 10 days, and the Passive House ice will never fully melt,” says Alexandre Hebert, the Zero Emissions Building Manager at BCIT. Alex has a bit of an unfair advantage though, because he helped with the construction of the structures at the BCIT Burnaby Campus.
BCIT was well-suited to help with the construction of these unique ice houses, as the Institute is home to the BCIT High Performance Building Lab — an innovative hands-on learning space that teaches students about the construction of energy efficient buildings.
“The high-performance Passive House structure was built to the same standards that we teach in our five-day Passive House Tradesperson Training course,” says Alex. So it’s not hard to see why BCIT is quickly becoming the BC leader in hands-on training for the growing high-performance building industry.
The reason BCIT wanted to get involved is simple says Alex, “By participating in this challenge, we’re hoping that the public will understand that building passive houses is the way of the future — offering improved occupant comfort, lower utility and maintenance costs, and ultimately saving the planet.”