A new Canadian apartment building in the city of Hamilton will lease studio units for just $85 a month, a shockingly affordable cost made possible by the property’s Passive House standards. Apartment units will be leased to the city’s most vulnerable residents, many of whom are currently homeless, and with low operating costs, both the city-owned housing provider and the building’s tenants will benefit, Fast Company reports.
Thanks to its ultra-efficient design with a tight building envelope, energy efficient appliances, and rooftop solar panels, the building uses practically no energy for heating and cooling. Best of all, Passive House apartments could become more common across Canada with the help of government funding, which is helping the city pay for more efficient buildings to reach the country’s goal of net zero emissions by 2050.
The Passive House standard allows for only a tiny amount of energy use—less than 15 kilowatts per hour per square meter for heating or cooling demand per year. “In layman’s terms, we typically say it’s about 90% better than a traditional build,” says Enda McDonagh, principal architect at Montgomery Sisam Architects, the firm that led the design of the new building. “So it is extremely efficient.” In a city with big temperature swings—Hamilton has freezing winters and hot, sticky summers—saving heating and cooling energy can also make a meaningful difference in costs.