Equity and Passive House in 2021

It’s clearer than ever that Passive House needs to be for everyone. We’ve compiled resources from the thought leaders who explored this need, and pathways forward, over the past year.

Read on for a collection of articles, videos, and podcasts from 2021 that dive into equity and Passive House. How can we create access to healthy housing and schools, drive workforce diversity, and work toward a more equitable building future? Let’s work together to build momentum into 2022 and beyond.


Making Workforce Diversity: A Cornerstone of the Clean Energy Economy 

Dr. Roger Arliner Young (RAY)
The Putman Family YWCA Passive House    Aerial of the YWCA buildings surrounding neighbourhood

In September 2021, The Putman Family YWCA housing in Hamilton, Ontario opened its doors to its first affordable housing development designed for women and their children. Offering 50 units of permanent affordable passive housing, 15 of which are reserved for women living with a developmental disability. Read the full case study here.

Nanamino Aboriginal Centre Passive Housing

Bowen Road 3

Designed to bring affordability and community spirit to a small city on Vancouver Island’s east coast, Nuutsumuut Lelum provides 25 affordable suites for youth, elders, and families in three two-story Passive House buildings. With its long and low massing, the complex’s architecture references Northwest Coastal Indigenous longhouse buildings. Read the full case study.


Satpal Kaur: The Hidden Story of Building Injustice

1920x1080 Image

Satpal Kaur joined us on the Global Passive House Happy Hour to tell The Hidden Story of Building Injustice. Satpal is a dedicated high-performance building designer, activist, and Building Design + Construction’s 40 under 40 award winner. During her presentation Satpal navigated the interesting historical conundrum: as building technology has evolved to increase occupant comfort, the human comfort threshold has decreased accordingly, resulting in increasingly greater energy needs in order to meet the shrinking window of acceptability. Watch Satpal’s full talk here.

Passive House School Insights Design Details and User Experience 

1920x1080 Image

We know how important healthy housing is, but how about healthy schools? Ann-Marie Fallon of Architype, presented Passive House school design and how she and her firm bring the healthy indoor air, the quiet, the comfort, and the decarbonization benefits of Passive House design to educational buildings in the United Kingdom—all at no additional construction cost. Watch Ann-Marie’s talk here.

Centering Equity in Passive House Workshop

1920x1080 Image

During the Centering Equity in Passive House Workshop Astrid Countee and Johnny Rezvani joined us to talk about getting started or taking the next steps in bringing equity to your workplace. Centering Equity in Passive House is a presentation and workshop to offer a practical path for companies to either begin the discussion or improve upon existing diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives within their firms. The presentation (developed from the Centering Equity in the Sustainable Building Sector initiative of NAACP) asks members of the Passive House community to challenge themselves, their companies and organizations, to take on self-identified commitments which build up the next generation of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) professionals in the design, engineering, construction, and management of the Passive House movement across North America. Watch the full workshop.


Passive House For All Bonus Episodes


We collaborated with The Passive House Network to record a series of conversations with leaders, educators, developers, and practitioners from the Passive House For All Conference in June 2021. Check out our collection of 18 interviews about thought leadership, development, expanding access to Passive House and more. Listen to the episodes.

Episode 39: Bomee Jung

Bomee discusses her involvement in early efforts to address climate action and buildings, the role that affordable housing providers are playing to reset our collective understanding of what “housing quality” should mean (ie. Passive House), and the ways that Passive House practitioners and organizations can help advance racial equity both in the AEC industry and in the built environment. Listen to the episode.

Episode 43: Meleny Thomas

Meleny Thomas, executive director of the South Baltimore Community Land Trust (SBCLT), talks with Mary James and Ilkas Cassidy about the organization’s mission to create community-led development and her decision to target Passive House for their initial development of 10 new homes. The choice sets a precedent for healthy homes not being restricted to affluent communities, Thomas says, in discussing how she first heard about Passive House and why she chose it as a target. Listen to the episode.

Episode 46: Gracer Park-Bradbury 

Grace Park-Bradbury, general manager west and head of strategic initiatives for Blocpower, talks with Mary James and Ilka Cassidy. Since Blocpower’s founding in 2014, the company has retrofitted more than 1,000 buildings in disadvantaged communities in New York City, with projects underway in 24 cities. Grace discusses her role in stitching together financing incentives for their customers, ensuring that health and comfort are not exclusively available to those with money. Listen to the episode.

Author: Sydney Gladu
Categories: Climate Justice