A passive standard home set to hit the market in Ottawa

Written by: Tyler Fleming | Published: February 24th, 2021

In Ottawa’s overactive real estate market, how about buying a passive home, which is a standard of ultra efficiency that uses almost no energy to maintain a comfortable, year-round temperature.

It’s a rare feat to achieve in a city that has bitter cold winters and blazing hot summers.

This passive home may be the only one downtown, and it’s about to be listed for sale.

Ottawa’s Hintonburg neighbourhood, only minutes from downtown, is an eclectic mix of century-old heritage homes and brand new contemporary builds.  Many with their own unique flare, like a brightly painted exterior or a castle-like spire with a copper roof.

At 105 Bayswater Avenue, the exterior is earthier. The cube-shaped home is panelled with aged cedar planks, creating a shimmering silver finish. There is bright blue door, and large windows.

What makes this home truly unlike any other in the area, it is constructed to a “passive standard.”

The house uses almost no energy to maintain a comfortable, constant temperature inside. The exterior walls are nearly five-times thicker than a standard home. The windows are triple glazed and ultra-insulated; in fact, they had to be shipped in from Europe.  

Homeowner Mark Rosen is an architect, who designed the house along with his wife Meg. The two wanted to create a cozy, eco-friendly space.

“We wanted the home to achieve the passive house standard but be architecturally unique and be beautiful in its own right so that it checked all the boxes,” says Rosen. “All of the details that go into the home are designed to prevent air from leaking out where you don’t want it to leak out or leak in.”

Being practically air-tight and all the insulation, keeps it warm in the winter and uses the same principles for summer to keep it cool. Because little air escapes, this requires a top-notch ventilation system.

There are two air exchangers: one brings in fresh air from outside, the other, takes heat or cool from the ground to help maintain a constant temperature inside.

The furnace is about the size of a toaster oven and uses the same energy as two hair dryers. There are no fossil fuels used, it is electricity only. There is no air conditioning as well, the same principles are used in reverse during sizzling hot summer months.

The windows are also oriented towards the sun in order to maximize exposure and collect as much energy as possible and there are no windows on the north side, where it is typically shaded and cooler.

Incredible efficiency aside, this three bedroom, four bathroom home has it all. A two-car garage, top-end kitchen, a spacious in-law suite with a kitchen and a spa-like ensuite. 

105 Bayswater Avenue will soon be for sale and real estate agent Jennifer Alvarenga with Lifestyle Homes Ottawa, RE/MAX Hallmark says it will likely move fast.

“In the market we’re in, people are looking for special homes,” says Alvarenga. “They’re looking for homes where they can retreat … you’re not just getting the construction of it, there was a lot of love and thought process that went into this and I think that is priceless.”

Alvarenga would not reveal what the list price will be, only saying that it is coming soon.

For the Rosen family, they say it is time for a new adventure.

The two, along with their two children, will begin the hunt for a new property to create another passive home.

While moving is bitter-sweet, Meg says they have a desire for another challenge with Mark adding that leaving the home is a good mix of nostalgia and a feeling of excitement.