Saskatoon homeowners celebrate first Passive House Institute certification on the prairies

Saskatoon's Temperance Street Passive House was recognized for meeting international sustainable building standards set by the Passive House Institute in Darmstadt, Germany.

Home is designed to be as energy efficient as possible

Holly Ann Knott and Jim Spinney invested in building a passive home. They were recognized for the feat on Tuesday. (CBC)

A Saskatoon couple is celebrating their passive house on the prairies.

It's the first home in the prairie provinces to be certified to meet international standards set by the Passive House Institute of Darmstadt, Germany.

Co-owners Holly Ann Knott and Jim Spinney were awarded a plaque on Tuesday. 

Earlier this month, Knott said she was inspired the Conservation House, a passive house built in Regina in 1977.

"I went for a tour and I anticipated that this was the new wave and everybody was going to start doing this because it just made so much sense," Knott said.

The trend didn't catch on in the province, but other countries in Europe took note of the passive house model and ran with the idea.

Knott and Spinney tore down their existing house to make way for the transformation. Passive homes are built to help control temperature and keep the home comfortable in an energy efficient way.

The couple doesn't have a gas furnace or an an air condition unit. They rely on 18-inch walls stuffed with insulation and a special doors to stop air from leaking out. 

"It feels a little bit like sealing yourself in into a submarine," Knott said. The couple noted this was an investment and pegged the cost of the door between four and six thousand dollars. 

Passive homes are kept warm from the sun, the home dwellers, appliances and a heat recovery system. They can be cooled through shading and window ventilation. Spinney said the home is north-south, a near perfect location.

Holly Ann Knott and Jim Spinney are the owners of a passive home. (CBC)

"We can get the back of the house where the sun is, and we get all of the light from the south," Spinney said. ​

"We have all of our windows on the south side, because of the eyebrow roof or ​the overhang we don't get the glare in the hot summer days," Spinney said.

During the evening, they open up all of the triple-pane windows.

"Simple. I'm really big on simple," Knott said.​

with files from CBC's Saskatoon Morning