Passive House Saltbox / Atelier l’Abri
Text description provided by the architects. Passive house and LEED Platinum certified, Maison Saltbox is only the third certified passive building in Quebec. Built on the south side of Mont Gale in Bromont, the single-family house is located in a meadow, on the edge of the forest. With its “L” plan combining two types of roof slopes, the house borrows its vernacular silhouette from the architectural vocabulary of 17th century Saltbox-type rural buildings, still clearly visible in the countryside of the Eastern Townships.
The high-performance house, built with a double frame and facing due south, offers exceptional living comfort to its inhabitants, whatever the season. La Maison Passive Saltbox is a main residence designed for a family of four and built on the southern slope of Mont Gale in Bromont, in the Eastern Townships of Quebec. The 3,100 sq.ft. detached house, built on three levels, is located in a meadow on the edge of the protected forest area of 2.5 hectares of land.
The natural character of the site and the built heritage of the region have led to a historical architectural language. With its “L” arrangement, as well as the combination of two types of roof slopes, the house borrows its silhouette from the vocabulary of the rural Saltbox buildings, which appeared in the New England colonies in the mid-17th century and which are still today. predominant. in the Eastern Townships countryside. With its gable roof in the main part and its sloping roof in the lower part, this typology takes its name from the lidded boxes in which the salt was formerly kept above the chimney, away from humidity. .
The plan of the house faces south to promote passive solar heating and a panoramic view of the valley. The three-story construction, carved into the mountain, minimizes the retaining walls visible from the road. By building sculptures at the back of the house and opting for a roof slope that follows that of the land, the house adapts smoothly to the topography of the site. Its presence remains discreet from the street, revealing its real program only to visitors who take the path to the entrance of the house. The third level with the garage which also serves as a workshop is only visible on the final approach.
The principles of energy efficiency, comfort and sustainability guided the design and the team of professionals. Design choices such as a highly insulated and airtight envelope, superior heat recovery from the mechanical ventilation system, and a building orientation and opening design that maximizes solar radiation are not directly visible. in architecture but are essential to promote in the context of climate change.
The design decisions were validated by the building’s energy modeling, which guided the choice of double framing for the insulation of above-ground walls and the choice of passive triple-glazed windows. In addition to the PH standard, we have also significantly reduced the building’s carbon footprint by carefully choosing materials, such as wood cladding and cellulose thermal insulation. Therefore, the Saltbox Passive House demonstrates that it is possible to build ambitious designs with high energy standards at a reasonable budget.