A snapshot of the website used for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.

The official Whistler website of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games


HomeGet InvolvedCommunity Events

Austria Passive House - A Games Legacy Showcasing Energy Efficiency

A touch of Europe can now be found in Whistler thanks to the Austria House, which isn't your average dwelling. The building is known as a Passive House because of its unique design, which essentially allows it to heat, cool and ventilate itself.

The Austria House, built by the Austrian Passive House Group, is a ultra-low energy building designed to showcase what's possible in terms of energy-efficient construction in Canada.

"We are so pleased to be working in partnership on this project," says Ken Melamed, Whistler Mayor. "Whistler is working hard on its journey towards sustainability and Passive House technology will demonstrate improved building design and construction, and make home owners and builders more aware of energy efficient construction methods."

Located on the main entrance to Lost Lake Park, between the upper and lower villages and a short-walk from the Village Stroll, the building will be home to the Austrian Olympic Committee and Austrian Public Broadcasting, which will broadcast live Games coverage to audiences back home during the 2010 Winter Games.

After the Games, Austria House will be given to Whistler for community use. It is envisioned as a rental shop for cross-country ski gear in winter and bicycles in summer, as well as a public indoor gathering space and club space for the Whistler Off Road Cycling Association (WORCA) and the Whistler Nordics Ski Club.

With low maintenance costs, the Austrian Passive House provides a lasting legacy to recreational users in the Lost Lake area.

The project also aligns with the priorities outlined in Whistler2020: a Passive House is a building in which a comfortable interior climate can be maintained without active heating and cooling systems. It uses little to no energy for heating and cooling, using a combination of super insulation, thick walls and windows, solar retention, ground heat and other technology.
The technology is based on highly sophisticated concepts for air exchange and circulation, thermal insulation, high efficiency windows and wood structure construction.

Passive houses are well established in Europe with over 17,000 existing passive units, of which 4,000 homes and other facilities are in Austria. There are less than a dozen Passive Houses in North America

Austria House is a partnership between the Austria Passive House Group, the Resort Municipality of Whistler, the Whistler Blackcomb Foundation and Sea to Sky Consulting.

Construction moving ahead

Construction of the Austria House is well underway and expected to be finished by mid-November. Passive House components (walls, windows, roof, ventilation and air circulation system) were built in Austria and shipped to Whistler in early September.

Whistler-based Durfeld Log Construction is helping to assemble the building. The total cost of the building is estimated at $1.33 million.

The project is being financed with private dollars, including a $150,000 grant from the Whistler Blackcomb Foundation, as well as funds from Austrian and German firms who saw the Games as an opportunity to showcase their materials and techniques around the world.

Austria?s Sohm Holzbautechnik (wood technology) is supplying the design and manufactured wood products for the project. Dense, interlocking foam pieces called Isoquick, manufactured by German chemical company BASF, are being used for the heat trapping under floor slab.

Key Sustainable Components

A key component of the Austria House is the building envelope, which uses 25-centimentres of dense polystyrene foam to encase the exterior walls as well as Isoquick foam under the flooring.

The specifically designed insulation material, supplied by the Passive House sponsor Isoquick, of Bechtolsheim, was installed under the watchful eye of its CEO, Peter Schroeder, who flew from Germany to oversee the operation.

This insulation process is a key aspect of Passive House construction. These modules, made of Peripor® manufactured by BASF, are strong enough to sustain the weight of the building and therefore are installed under the load bearing slab. These interlocking modules prevent the cold from the ground to move up into the house. The connection it forms is a key factor in Passive House construction techniques and makes the whole structure more energy efficient.

Insiders call it the "sock" of the building because it is this material that keeps the floor and people's feet warm. The Isoquick insulation was shipped from Germany, to Montreal, than trucked to Whistler in less than three days, as time was of the essence in getting the material installed.

After the out shell of the building is complete, the kitchen appliances sponsored by Miele, the furniture from baumstark, a high-end interior decorator supplier the bathroom and kitchen fixtures from Schmeidl www.schmiedl.eu will then be installed.

For more information, see: www.austrian-passivehouse.com


Visit Vancouver2010.com

Link to the official website for the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.

Visit The Site

Get Whistler Live! updates

Sign up to receive updates on confirmed talent, scheduling and event highlights.

Subscribe Now!

Life on the Mountains

90% of terrain will remain open on Whistler Blackcomb during the 2010 Winter Games

Read More Now