Passive House eclipses the BC Building Code in Ice Box Challenge

code ice is losing its shape vs PH ice

BC Building Code box ice, on right, lost about 40 per cent more volume during Ice Box Challenge than the Passive House box ice.

When our members Shaun St-Amour and Chris Hill opened the Ice Box Challenge ice boxes on Vancouver’s Olympic Village Square on August 14, they revealed how high-performance design and construction yields energy-efficient benefits even during a summer heatwave. (more…)

Be Earnest and cool with the #IceBoxChallenge Photo Contest

Category : Events, News

Snap a selfie at the Ice Box Challenge structures at Olympic Village Square and post it with #IceBoxChallenge anytime until noon, August 14, on Instagram, FaceBook and Twitter, and you could win a very cool prize.

Prizes include gift cards for sublime frozen treats by Vancouver’s own premium ice creamery, Earnest Ice Cream.

Draws will take place throughout the Ice Box Challenge, until August 14, 2017.

Sea Level Rise Team to visit Ice Box Challenge

Sea Level Rise Team to visit Ice Box Challenge
Category : Events, News

On Wednesday, August 9, the City of Vancouver will be visiting the Ice Box Challenge site with information about sea level rise.

Drop by between 2:00 and 6:00 P.M. to learn about how sea level rise will impact us here in the region, and what we can all do about it.

Bonus: we’ll be giving away free popsicles to those who submit a pledge to reduce greenhouse gases and slow sea level rise.

Ice Box Challenge and Passive House Industry Social scheduled for August 2

Category : Events, News

We have scheduled an industry–Ice Box Challenge social for Wednesday, August 2. Here is your opportunity to visit the Ice Box Challenge and see the changes that have occurred in the first week. Shaun St. Amour, who oversaw construction of the Ice Box Challenge installation, will present on how the Ice Box Challenge was developed and describe the construction process.

The structures, decks, benches, and ramps were built off-site at BCIT’s High-Performance Building Lab, then transferred with the help of Britco Construction a few days before the event’s July 27 launch to Vancouver’s Olympic Village Square. Come down and check out how each structure is handling the summer heat!

We are so grateful to all the supporters and contributors that assisted in making this event happen. Please join us.


After the discussion, we’ll convene informally next door at the Tap and Barrel Restaurant. We’ll try to wrap things up for those you will be heading to the fireworks.


Review construction details of the Ice Box Challenge – 6:30 to 7:30 PM, Olympic Village Plaza (just west of the Creekside Community Centre at 1 Athletes Way)

Socialize with Passive House enthusiasts – 7:30 to 8:30 PM, Tap and Barrel Restaurant (next to the Ice Box Challenge installation)

Re-visit the Ice Box Challenge—the lights inside each ice box should be clearly visible for you to see the ice – 8:30 to 9:00 PM, Olympic Village Plaza

Please note: the fireworks begin at 10:00 PM at English Bay.

For more information on the Ice Box Challenge, click here > 


Passive House Canada is running the Ice Box Challenge, with support from the City of Vancouver, Vancity, and members of the local construction and design industry – 475 High Performance Building Supply, BCIT High Performance Building Lab, Britco Construction, Cascadia Windows and Doors, Cornerstone Architecture, Dick’s Lumber, E3 Eco Group, Echoflex Solutions Inc., Euroline Windows, Footprint Sustainable Housing Corporation, Golden Chateau Building Materials Inc., Kingdom Builders, MistyWest, MIZU Passive House Consulting, Modu-Loc Fence Rentals, Multivista, Naikoon Contracting Ltd., Naturally Crafted Contracting Ltd., Open Green Building Society, Polar Bear Ice, Portable Electric, Ritchie Construction, Ryder Architecture, Siga Cover, Slow and Steady Design, Small Planet Supply, Stantec Architecture, Stark Architecture, James A.V. Bligh, Simon Chan, Cu Nguyen, Ria Purnam, Ian Robertson.

Ice Box Challenge kicks off with legislators, media and the public present

Category : Events, News
Closing the BC Building Code ice b, with ~1 tonne of ice stacked inside.

Closing the BC Building Code ice box, with ~1 tonne of ice stacked inside.

“What’s good for the environment is good for people,” says the Hon. George Heyman, B.C.’s new Minister of the Environment and Climate Change Strategy. Speaking to reporters, Passive House supporters, and members of the public at the July 27 launch of Passive House Canada’s Ice Box Challenge, Heyman says he had seen a demonstration of the Passive House Standard and recognizes the benefits it provides.

These buildings, he says, “are a very, very, very important part of tackling climate change.”

About 75 people gathered at Vancouver’s Olympic Village Square to watch the Ice Box Challenge construction crew load nearly one tonne of ice blocks into the each of the Ice Box Challenge ice boxes, then close the structures up.

One of the ice boxes is built to the BC Building Code and the other is built to the super energy–efficient Passive House Standard. The two ice-filled structures will now sit outdoors on Vancouver’s waterfront until August 14 to weather the summer heat and sun.

The difference in the amount of ice that melts in the code ice box compared to the Passive House box over the 18 days will show Vancouver residents and visitors how much energy and money is lost due to inefficient buildings.

Members of the public are invited to go online to to predict how much ice will be left in each building by the end of the competition and to enter to win a Whistler, B.C., getaway. They can also post photos of themselves and their friends at the ice boxes for a chance to win ice cream gift cards.

Loading ice onto the BC Building Code box platform under bright sun.

Loading ice onto the BC Building Code box platform under bright sun.

Passive House Canada is running the event to demonstrate to Vancouver-area residents how building-design improvements like thicker walls, better insulation, efficient windows and proper air circulation substantially lower heating and cooling costs and decrease greenhouse gas emissions. The City of Vancouver, Vancity, and many members of the Vancouver-area design and construction industry provided significant support and have been key to making the event happen.

As part of its Greenest City Action Plan, the City of Vancouver seeks to eliminate dependency on fossil fuels and reduce carbon emissions by 80 per cent by 2050. A key part of the strategy focuses on expanding the city’s inventory of carbon-neutral buildings.

Vancouver City Councillor Andrea Reimer says the Passive House Standard is considered an important tool in changing the housing stock to reach those targets.

“The vast majority of new renewable energy in the City of Vancouver will come as a result of more energy efficiency,” she says. “We need all of our new buildings to be zero emissions by the year 2030, and Passive House Standard is one way to get us there.”

Our dignitaries. Ice Box Challenge, July 27, 2017Also speaking at the launch were the Hon. George Chow, Minister of State for Trade and a professional engineer, Adam Olsen, MLA for Saanich North and the Island, Michael Wiebe, Chair of the Vancouver Parks Board, which is responsible for Olympic Village Square, Rick Sielski, Senior Vice-President of Enterprise Risk for Vancity, one of the event’s sponsors, and Ian Ross McDonald, Vice-President of the Architectural Institute of B.C.


Media Advisory: Hon. George Heyman, Minister of Environment, and Hon. George Chow, Minister of State for Trade, to attend Ice Box Challenge launch

Passive House Canada
Media Advisory
July 26, 2017

Ice Box Challenge Launch

Passive House Canada, Vancity, the City of Vancouver and Vancouver Park Board invite the media to meet the Hon. George Heyman, Minister of the Environment and Climate Change Strategy, and the Hon. George Chow, Minister of State for Trade, at the launch of Canada’s first-ever Ice Box Challenge. Between July 27 and August 14, Vancouver residents and visitors are invited to learn about the Passive House Standard—the world’s most energy-efficient building design standard that requires almost no energy for heating or cooling and leaves buildings comfortable throughout the year.

The Honourable Ministers will attend the July 27th launch, when two structures will be placed at Olympic Village Square—one built to B.C.’s current building code and one built to a Passive House Standard. Almost one tonne of ice will be placed in each structure, and people will be invited to guess how much ice will be left at the end of the competition.

Date: Thursday, July 27, 2017
Time: 10:30am – 12:00pm: Staff will be onsite setting up the structures. Media are invited to capture b-roll.
12:00 – 1:00pm: Launch
Location: Olympic Village Square (near the Tap & Barrel)

Hon. George Heyman, Minister of the Environment and Climate Change Strategy
Hon. George Chow, Minister of State for Trade
Adam Olsen, Green Party MLA, Saanich North and the Islands
Andrea Reimer, City of Vancouver Councillor
Michael Wiebe, Chair, Vancouver Parks Board
Rick Sielski, Senior VP of Enterprise Risk, Vancity
Ian McDonald, Vice President, Architectural Institute of B.C.


For more information, contact:
Monique Keiran
Manager, Communications & Member Services
Passive House Canada
Tel: 250.940.2465; monique (at)