Home Show: Adopting European house building concepts

After years of practical experience, Uwe Heyde’s interest in traditional construction with technological developments became his passion.

As a German native, Uwe Heyde started his career in construction about 20 years ago as a “Zimmermann.”

After a three-year apprenticeship, he became a certified carpenter and timber framer.

To learn more about his profession, Heyde joined a guild, as a member of the Rolandschacht.

He proceeded to take up a four year journey as a Zimmermann to learn more about different building techniques used mainly in Europe.

After many years of practical experience, Heyde’s interest in traditional construction combined with latest technological developments became his abiding passion.

He became a certified master in construction and timber framing, energy adviser and passive house consultant.

Heyde will be talking about energy efficient building and the philosophy behind passive housing design at the Kelowna Home Show this weekend.

So what is passive house? In Canada, we might refer to it as pre-fabricated housing.

Heyde says terms like sustainability and “green” are used quite liberally in conversation today with most people having an opinion but necessarily a clear definition.

For a passive house, he says the concept is simple,  sensible and smart. The main characteristics are:

1. Create a super-insulated building envelope (more than just adding thicker insulation) thereby maximizing energy efficiency before addressing additional energy generation requirements.

2. Computer modelled even the smallest design elements to enhance sun light capture and seasonal shading

3. Mechanically ventilate fresh, clean air (while recovering heat) then distributing it throughout the entire home to create optimal thermal balance and comfort.

What do these strict design parameters create?

Heyde says they create a  home that reduces its energy demand, instantly, by 90 per cent without incorporating a single active energy system. (i.e. furnace, air conditioner, solar panel, geothermal, wind etc.)

A home that comforts us, by removing indoor temperature gradients and providing air quality as pure and refreshing as a mountain retreat.

A home that connects the outdoors and interacts with us and us with it.

A home that is unsurpassed in true, relative value and will continue to provide all these luxuries for generations.

Only a handful of these building have been certified by the German and Canadian Passivhaus institutes in Canada, and Heyde’s goal is to introduce the concept on a larger scale across Alberta and B.C.

Heyde came to Canada and settled in Canmore, Alta., five years ago to work for a timber framing home construction company, but eventually saw an opportunity to branch out on his own with the passive housing concept, which he did last year.

He has a production facility in Golden and an assembly yard in Canmore, both which employ about 15 people.

Heyde says he wants to incorporate the European house building philosophy to his Canadian customers, where the builder works with the client through every phase of the construction process.

“In Canada, you tend to hire a contractor who in turn hires sub-trades to complete a house so you are somewhat removed from the process. We try to pay more attention to the quality of the building and to help educate the client on what makes sense for them.”

Heyde says the idea of energy efficiency doesn’t coincide with building 4,000 to 5,000 sq.ft. homes, where energy is provided on space in a house that is rarely used.

“Sometimes it’s more beneficial in terms of energy efficiency to think smaller and more practical.”

Heyde cites a number of features that go into a passive house design:

1. Water conservation through permeable pavers and xeriscaping throughout site.

2. Minimal north facing windows to reduce heat loss.

3. Clerestory windows for added day-lighting. Super insulated R-70 roof.

4. Optional solar panels (rough-ins provided) to achieve Net Zero energy requirement.

5. Solar shading for the summer months.

6. Water retention on site with xeriscaping and native vegetation.

7. Triple -glazed German windows that provide solar gains and maintain thermal comfort during the winter months.

8. R-60 pre-fabricated walls are made of natural materials (wood fibres) and wood siding which naturally “breathe” and are designed to last generations. Assembled to remove virtually all thermal bridging thereby achieving the highest air leakage prevention standards in the world.

Heyde will give presentations on his home building concepts at the Kelowna Home Show on Saturday, Feb. 23, 12:30 and 4:30 p.m., and Sunday, Feb. 24, 2:30 p.m.


Just Posted

New law introduced to make donating “easier for Canadians”

MP Dan Albas introduces crypto currency-favouring legislation

Update: Mother dead, youth in critical condition after carbon monoxide poisoning at Sandy Point Campground

The woman was found unresponsive insider her tent and the youth was taken via air ambulance to hospital

22nd annual Peachland World of Wheels show kicks off May long weekend

Sunday will 500 classic cars and over 10,000 attendees

Dropbike recycles busted bicycles at Kelowna recycling facility

Following procedures, around 30 unusable bikes were recycled as bike-sharing program leaves Kelowna

The Business of Cannabis: Chamber of Commerce release luncheon panellists

The next Chamber of Commerce luncheon panel is set

Kelowna RCMP interrogation video brings home reality in ‘visceral way’: former TRC chairman

Video of Mountie interrogating young Indigenous woman disclosing sexual abuse under fire

Update: Plan to see more smoke from South Okanagan wildfire

Richter Creek wildfire, 12 kilometres west of Osoyoos, is an estimated 400 hectares

Okanagan adventurer continues motorcycle trip around the world

Vernon local James Leigh recently completed the third of five legs of the journey, travelling through China and Kazakhstan

Riders “step up” their game at Coldstream Equestrian Clinic

Riders from across the Okanagan travelled to Coldstream to train for the 2019 55+ Senior Games, which take place in Kelowna this fall.

Canada’s parole officers say correctional system has reached breaking point

About half of Canada’s federal parole officers work inside penitentiaries and correctional institutions

Montreal researchers create audible hockey puck for visually impaired players

Three years ago, Gilles Ouellet came up with the idea for a puck that makes a continuous sound

Boy, 12, arrested after allegedly pulling a knife on another child at a Surrey park

The child was later released into his parents’ custody as Surrey RCMP continue their investigation

Former Greyhound bus drivers gather in the Okanagan for one last hurrah

Bash kicks off Friday in Penticton and runs until Sunday

ICBC urging drivers to slow down this May long weekend

Speed is number one cause of car crash fatalities: ICBC

Most Read