ecoHouse 4 - A New Brunswick first - Passive House debut scores 95% energy savings

Nestled behind a line of trees in Douglas New Brunswick and overlooking the Saint John River is the cedar-clad home known as Naugler House. The two-level retirement home, the first Passive House in the province and constructed by the owner’s son Tim Naugler of Southern Exposure Construction Inc., delivers year-round comfort that a Passive House provides.

By Win and Tim Naugler


The house has impressive bragging rights in that heating the home cost less than $77 for the entire winter, proof that Passive House is an attainable standard that Canadians need to embrace.

As the owners, we enjoy the pleasant and spacious feel of the living space. Large windows on both levels not only provide free heat but increase the spaciousness of the open design and provide natural light to the home for most of the day.

Moreover, the house has excellent indoor air quality, and is extremely quiet inside. Quality construction is required in order to meet the high standard for a Passive House including an airtight structure, thick walls, solid windows and doors. This provides the house with a substantial cozy feeling and comfortable healthy living.

And, just to repeat, the $77 a year heating bill is hardly a heating bill at all for chilly New Brunswick.

During the planning period of the house we set out several goals:
1. To build a certifiable Passive House
2. To build the best house possible and use it to demonstrate the benefits of Passive House to Atlantic Canada.
3. To heat the house only through post-heating of the HRV fresh air.
4. To build the most airtight structure possible
5. To use as many local, sustainable, building products as possible.

Keeping to these goals helped in making all the hard decisions that come through the planning process.


  • - True-foam Type II and III expanded polystyrene, custom cut sub slab and exterior foundation insulation
  • - Blown cellulose insulation for walls and roof
  • - Air barrier: OSB with SIGA air barrier tapes
  • - Tyvek® water-resistive barrier in rain screen
  • - Windows:  Internorm ThermoPassiv sourced through Northwin Windows
  • - Thermolec 2kw Thermo Air resistance heater unit
  • - Zehnder Comfoair 200 HRV

Project Performance

  • - PHPP Specific Space heat demand = 7Kwh/[m2/a]
  • - PHPP Primary Energy Demand = 100Kwh/[m2/a]
  • - PHPP Heating Load = 7W/m2
  • - Airtightness = 0.2ACH@50Pa [European testing value] 0.18@5Pa [North American value]

Measured Energy Usage June 14, 2012- June 12, 2013

  • - Energy used for Heating = 690.2 kWh or 4.28 kWh/[m2/a]
  • - Total Home Energy Consumption = 4,018 kWh or 24.95 kWh/[m2/a]
  • - Code-built Total Home Energy Consumption = 28,228 kWh or 175.3 kWh/[m2/a] [Based on a Hot 2000 modelling software file for the same size, same design, same lot and orientation.] Note: Up to 30% of heating energy can be lost through air infiltration.

Project Credits

  • Design  Thoughtful Dwellings
  • Construction  Southern Exposure Construction Inc.
  • Photos  Bang-On Photography

Win Naugler is owner of the house and father of the builder Tim Naugler of Southern Exposure Construction Inc.

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