Canadian Consulting Engineer

Ice Box Challenge in Vancouver: Passive House demonstration

July 24, 2017

The BC Building Code is up against the Passive House Standard in a public display to see which can keep out the heat for 18 days.

passiveThe Ice Box Challenge, a contest to demonstrate the effectiveness of high performance buildings, is taking place in Vancouver’s Olympic Village Square beginning this week, as Passive House Canada, along with the City of Vancouver, Vancity and members of Vancouver’s construction launch the activity on Thursday, July 27.

The Vancouver Challenge is a public display and science experiment that will pit the BC Building Code against the Passive House Standard.

On July 27, Passive House Canada will fill two small structures with about 1 tonne of ice, then leave them outdoors in the summer sun. Each ice-filled structure will sit on its own platform. Both are built with timber studs and plywood. The Passive House Ice Box is over-insulated with Roxul insulation and its window is triple-glazed, according to the Passive House Standard.

Both structures are clad in treated oriented strand board, which is painted and waterproofed. The Ice Boxes and platforms are built offsite, and will be delivered and pieced together onsite.


The challenge is to discover how much ice will remain in each structure after 18 days. On August 14, the Ice Boxes will be opened and the ice measured.

“People around the world are benefitting from living and working in high-performance buildings,” says Passive House Canada CEO Rob Bernhardt in a release announcing the event. “The City of Vancouver’s Zero Emissions Building Plan will help to bring those benefits to Vancouver residents, and industry leaders from across the region have come together to demonstrate the benefits to the public with Ice Box Challenge.”

Dozens of new high-performance buildings are currently in design or under construction in Vancouver, including family homes, apartment and condo buildings, and commercial, community, institutional and mixed-use buildings.

Based on similar events held in Europe, the Ice Box Challenge is run by Passive House Canada, with support from the City of Vancouver, Vancity, and members of the local construction industry.


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