2016 - Atlantic Regional Winner - DURA HOUSE - Terence Bay, NS

JURY COMMENTS: An exemplary project that responds to the opportunities of its site, while respecting the rigours of the North Atlantic coastal climate. A compact plan, strategically placed thermal mass, airtightness 50% better than Passive House standard and a highly insulated building envelope make this a truly low energy house. Add to this the live/work configuration that will reduce transportation energy and the result is a compelling prototype which combines energy conservation, clever programming and contextual sensitivity.

Once a thriving fisheries-based community Terence Bay is transforming into an ocean-side suburb of Halifax, with the majority of residents commuting daily to the city. In this context, live-work residential configurations hold the promise of small-scale home enterprises that can enhance family flexibility, balance the demands of life and work, and enrich the local community.
The built character of Terence Bay reflects its origins as a fishing community, retaining numerous traditional houses and private wharfs with fish shacks dotted along the rugged north Atlantic coastline. This site has a beautiful layered view to the south-west across islands and rocks to the Betty Island light house. To capitalize on this view the building had to be placed as close to the east property line as possible, and the living space had to be elevated 3.6 m above established grade.

This immediately suggested a live-work configuration, in which 165 m2 of living space could be placed above 110 m2 of work and ancillary space.

Fiberglass-frame windows have been strategically placed and sized to achieve solar heating, natural lighting, views, or ventilation. East and west elevations have large horizontal windows to catch sunrises and sunsets, with operable portions for cross-ventilation. Large operable horizontal bedroom windows preserve privacy, admit ventilation and day lighting and allow for flexibility of furniture placement. South-facing picture windows have no mullions, both for unobstructed views and higher performance.
Areas of fenestration are optimized for passive solar heating, with 20% glazing on the south elevation; 12% on the east and west elevations and 8% on the north elevation. Windows and doors are double-pane, argon-filled units with low-e coatings that vary according to orientation. A projecting balcony protects the south-facing windows from the sun for eight weeks either side of the summer solstice.

The balcony hangers are detailed to minimize thermal bridging. Ventilation is driven by a heat recovery ventilator that operates at 75% efficiency. It has an intermittent high speed booster eliminating the need for separate kitchen and bathroom exhausts. A ducted de-stratification fan operated by a cooling thermostat at high elevation in series with a heating thermostat in a lower bedroom run a low CFM fan that pulls hot air from the top of the house and circulates it to the lower rooms on the cooler north side of the building.
Due to the poor quality and unpredictable supply of local well water, all domestic needs are met by rainwater collection. PH buffering takes place in storage tanks in the basement level ancillary room.

Electricity and sunlight are the only two energy sources to the house. Thermal mass is used in the insulated concrete form [ICF] basement walls and hydronic radiant floor slabs to modulate temperature fluctuations. The air tightness of the envelope is 0.32 ACH @50 Pa; the roof achieves R60 with loose fill cellulose insulation, and the slab achieves R-16. with extruded polystyrene [EPS].
With its practical and economical approach to design and its flexible mixed-use program, this project continues the tradition of resourcefulness and resilience that has characterized Atlantic Canada for many generations.

For information on how the windows by Inline Fiberglass were selected to preserve the envelope integrity of the Dura House, visit:

Project Performance
- Energy Intensity [building and process energy] = 150.12 MJ/m2/year
- Potable water from municipal sources = 0

Project Credits
Owner/Developer David Coole
Architect DR Coole Architecture Inc.
General Contractor David Coole
Mechanical Engineer Equilibrium Engineering
Structural Engineer Griggs Engineering
Photos Elemental Photography


Print this article | Send by e-mail

Comments are closed.