Canadian Contractor

The death of home heating

If you hate installing furnaces, you'll love Reiner's house.

Print this page

January 3, 2012 by Robert Koci

The Reno Coach Reiner Hoyer is getting a chance to put his money where his mouth has been for the last year. The Passive House he’s been building through the last six months or so in Toronto had its first real test when the temperature went down to an overnight low of -20C. How did the house fair? As of 4:00pm in the afternoon, his heating cost for the day was 36 cents.

Robert Koci

Robert Koci

Rob Koci is the publisher of Canadian Contractor magazine. Tel. 647-407-0754
All posts by

Print this page


Have your say:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

12 Comments » for The death of home heating
  1. JGoodmanHomes says:

    This is a really great video Robert!
    I’m inspired to go out and buy some insulation for my attic, that is for sure!! Will have to consider some spring exterior insulation options as well. Nothing like seeing how true insulation efficiencies can exist at -20C!

  2. Ian Szabo says:

    Great video, What type of Insulation was used (Spray Foam) in the ceiling?Walls,Floors , Etc.

    • Robert Koci says:

      The insulation is a combination of spray foam and rigid. Almost every wall has both. The basement is mostly rigid. I’ll be detailing the construction of this house in Issue #2 of Canadian Contractor this year, which will be out some time in March. In the mean time I’ll get as much information online as I can.

  3. Is this house certified to meet the Passivhaus standard of >15Mj / m2 / yr and > 0.6ACH @ 50Pa? Only 5kw on one day sounds low, but how do you calculate the annual heating and cooling energy demand for the year based on heating and cooling degree days?


    • Robert Koci says:

      I’ll ask Reiner to answer your questions. He should get back to me shortly, or answer you here. I should mention that I visited at about 4:00pm so there was a considerable amount of time left in the day. I don’t know what the total consumption for the full day way. But again, I can ask.

    • Robert Koci says:

      David: Reiner says the house does meet the standard you describe, and he is in the process of getting the house certified by the German Passive House group. He says the house would sell for about $1.5 million in the current market. The additional costs associated with potential certification as a Passive House were about $30,000.

  4. Great story and one that needs to get more attention. It is not always about the mechanical systems, but rather retaining the heat that is generated within the spaces and gained through passive solar. In our training center in Winnipeg todate we have only used the furnace (electric) for six days and those were not six full days either. Today is January 12, 2012! Yes that is what I said 6 days of furnace use in Winnipeg. Love the magazine and the clips, keep it up. Good Health!

    • Robert Koci says:

      That’s pretty impressive. Send me a pic of the centre and give me some of the build info. We would be interested.

  5. Andrew Zwicker / Zwicker Custom Homes Inc. says:

    Hello Robert: Thank you for posting this video. I have been following Mr. Hoyer’s project where and when I can, this video represents the culmination of his efforts and demonstrates the possibilities of efficient construction. I try to and would like to build every house using these principles. If only I could convince all of my clients the merits of building in this manner. To this end, I wanted to ask both you and Mr. Hoyer if it would be o.k to play the video for my clients in order to help convince them of the benefits and true rewards of energy efficient construction. Have a great day!
    Andrew Zwicker

    • Robert Koci says:

      The video is yours to use as you like, Andrew. And we’ll be doing a more comprehensive story on Reiner’s house in a future issue of Canadian Contractor, so watch out for it.

  6. Yeah, let’s talk more about the BENEFITS during the sales process…other than saving some money on your gas bill ( approx $1500/yr typical household).

    For example, does an R50 insulation underslab allow your baby toddler to crawl on the non-carpeted, laminate wood basement floor in bare feet? What is the surface temperature of the floor compared to a conventional basement slab? Can insulation really save the costs of a $40,000 whole home radiant floor heating system with individual zone control thermostats? Is there any need to worry about setting back your thermostat to “save energy” in a Passivhaus….when there is virtually zero energy to be saved?

  7. dan wall says:

    it is march 2014, i just came across this and watched. my gas bill doubled over last year, and cost me close to $300 for a 2 storey townhouse style condo in southern ontario for the month of february. it is not 3400sq ft. the are saying that gas is going up more… and the cost of electricity is going up too… in ontario. if u can afford to build, build smart!!! its not the house that costs, its the utilities. u should repost
    dan w