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College of the Rockies Student Housing

This project proved that new and sustainable methods of building are possible. The five cottage-style living quarters were designed and completed to meet Passive House Canada standards, a first in the country for this project type. Considered one of the most rigorous, voluntary design standards in today's building industry, Passive House Canada helps create energy-efficient, affordable, and ecological builds.

Our project team was devoted to completing this project in time for students to start their winter term. One way we managed to meet this deadline was by working day and night for three months straight.

Another concern for the campus was to minimize impact to the surrounding forest. The Chandos team ensured that surrounding trees were undisturbed, and trails were kept open during construction. Proper construction fencing was also put in place for the safety of students and visitors using the area during this time.

Upon completion, the residences were able to host 2,500 students and add 100 extra beds to the campus. This helped to considerably reduce the strain on rental units in the Town of Cranbrook.

Passive House standards require teams to meet stringent regulations during construction. For example, the entire envelope, including foundational walls, were designed with over 250mm of exterior insulation and a continuous air/vapor barrier. During the design and construction phases, the team performed an extensive review of tie-in details to check for proper membrane lapping and confirm the absence of thermal breaks.

Building this Passive House certified project meant the entire team needed to understand all build requirements before getting started. Chandos, trade partners, and consultants worked together to understand the design throughout the entire construction process. They also relied on values alignment and goal setting exercises.  This led to more accountability, a detailed schedule and better understanding for everyone involved.

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