BC Passive House Factory showcases Passive House standards and the company’s commitment to building with wood, while serving the working needs of the growing wood fabrication company.
- The all-wood manufacturing plant was the first of its kind in North America.
- Made from local components, the entire structure was assembled in eight days.
- The idea behind the design was to create an industrial building as beautiful as a public building.
BC Passive House (BCPH) Factory began prefabricating its own high-performance building components after successfully assembling Canada’s first Passive House–certified structure, the Lost Lake PassivHaus. Austrians had shipped the house as a kit of parts to serve as their hospitality house for the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. As demand for prefabricated buildings increased, BCPH began planning a larger factory, one that would provide employees with as high-quality work environment as they were producing for others. The factory is in the Pemberton Valley, north of Whistler, where it sits against a backdrop of Coast Mountain peaks.
An alternative to the traditional factory
The architects wanted to prove that an industrial building could be as beautiful as a public building, and so they designed a light and simple ode to wood. The all-wood facility includes offices, a showroom, and a high-bay workshop, all contained within a simple rectangular volume. Douglas-fir-post-and-beam frames, at six-metre intervals, span from the sides to a central line of columns, forming the main structure. Continuous legers on either side of the beams support prefabricated wood-frame roof panels. Exterior twelve-metre cross-laminated timber (CLT) panels are laid horizontally in a staggered pattern for the walls and are topped with continuous clerestory windows to provide daylight and views in all directions. The showroom and office walls are framed with wood I-joists, super insulated, and certified to Passive House standards. The exterior cladding consists of prefabricated panels of horizontal Douglas-fir, and dense, durable larch boards.
Quickly assembled from local components, keeping the footprint small
The minimal box-like building was erected in eight days and demonstrates the advantage of locally sourced, prefabricated wood construction. The optimized envelope uses BC Passive House’s airtight, double-walled system and high-performance wood windows. It’s so efficient that solar gain through the windows and body heat provides most of the heating required for the office and meeting rooms. The air-tight envelope and a heat-recovery ventilation system will help cut 971 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions each year compared to a conventionally-built facility of similar size.