Our Story How We Work The Team Videos

Our Story

Our designs are influenced by how we interact with the space in our homes and the environment in ways that make our lives better. From the placement of your kitchen window to your cost-savings heating solution, our houses are practical to build, affordable to own and sustain the life you want to live.

Natalie Leonard, Founder Passive Design Solutions

We Listened

All of us at Passive Design Solutions are committed to creating beautiful, functional, affordable homes that are built to live in with ease and comfort. We embrace both classic and modern elements of design while integrating reliable and simple energy efficient solutions.

Whether it is rising fuel costs or the encroaching impacts of climate change, homeowners know that the cost of owning a home doesn’t just include the cost to build it but also the cost to maintain it year after year. We have been engaged with homeowners, builders and the passive house industry for almost a decade now. We have listened, learned and honed our skills to become one of North America’s most respected passive house design firms.

Design is not just what it looks and feels like. Design is how it works.

Steve Jobs

We Learned

Our approach to design grows equally out of our commitment to our clients as well as to the environment. The beauty of a passive house design rests on a foundation of seamlessly integrating energy efficiency solutions within elegant and livable homes. When you live in a passive house you reduce your carbon footprint today and for generations to come. It is this combined impact of our designs that both inspires and drives our team towards excellence and innovation.

We don’t approach designing for energy efficiency as limiting, we see it as liberating. Liberating us from old style construction methods and materials and liberating homeowners from chronic high fuel bills. Our passive house designs have tremendous latitude to be both energy efficient and uniquely individual. We design homes that fit into the context in which we live and are part of your neighbourhood as well as easily maintained by local tradespeople.

So many of us want to find a meaningful way to contribute to the well-being of our families, our communities and to the world at large. When we design an elegant, affordable, energy-efficient passive house, we are contributing to lowering our collective carbon footprint for generations to come. We are also designing lovely, functional and durable homes for everyday living.

Good design is sustainable. Great design is responsible.

We Dream

A decade ago we asked ourselves what kind of houses are both inspiring and important to design. Starting Passive Design Solutions was our answer. Designing elegant, energy-efficient homes that use less fossil fuels, leave a significantly smaller carbon footprint than that of standard home construction and contribute to a brighter tomorrow for future generations, is what we aim to do.

We want to change how houses are designed and built. Every house can leave a smaller carbon footprint; embrace cozy, warm, light, functional living spaces; are less costly to maintain and healthier to live in.

It’s a big dream. One we believe whose time has come.

Our Story How We Work The Team Videos

How We Work

When we work with you to design a house, it will be your home.

We listen to your vision, provide honest advice, experienced solutions, and creative ideas, and enjoy the design process as a dialogue. All our designs are driven by seamlessly integrating the Passive House strategies with your vision and the characteristics of your site. Because our clients are all so unique, our projects reflect a wide variety of styles, budgets and settings. But some things are constant: bright, warm spaces, functional layouts, comfortable and healthy environments. And above all, a conviction that sustainable buildings are simply better buildings.

With our engineering and architecturally trained team, we bring a unique ability to create beautiful homes, while keeping our designs simple to build.

As a design build firm, with experience building 20+ passive house projects, we fully understand the impact design decisions have on the constructability of the project and the direct link to costs. This commitment is expressed in all our custom designs and Passive House stock plans.

Whether you are a home owner, builder, engineer or architect, you will experience our key focus: collaboration.

We offer a variety of design and consulting services to help your project be better. Whether we’re working to make your dream home just right or push the boundaries of energy efficiency to new scales, our team brings a commitment to make the process positive, collaborative and smooth. See our plans, projects and services, or contact us. Let us know how we can work together to make your project a better one!

Our Story How We Work The Team Videos

Our Team

Natalie Leonard, P. Eng.

The first Certified Passive House Consultant and Certified Passive House Builder in Canada, Natalie leads the Passive Design Solutions (PDS) team with a depth of experience in creating cost-effective, beautiful, super-efficient homes for the future.

She brings her engineering background, hands-on design and construction experience, a practical and efficient approach to building, and a commitment to greatly reduce the energy footprint our buildings use in Canada.

Natalie’s passions for the natural environment and world travel have greatly influenced her perspective on residential construction and the footprint our buildings have on the planet. For the past 10 years, she has been focused on learning green building practices and integrating them into her projects.

Finding the Passive House Standard was a perfect fit. The simplicity and affordability of the Passive House aligns with Natalie’s values of creating practical and efficient homes for the mainstream market.

Mike Anderson, MArch, BSc

Mike Anderson graduated with a Masters in Architecture in 2011 and started working with Natalie on Passive Houses shortly afterwards. Using his architectural training along with an earlier degree in Physics, Mike is able to work on all aspects of high-performance housing, from detailed energy modeling to window layouts that frame the perfect view.

Mike qualified as a Certified Passive House Builder in 2016. He is dedicated to making durable, resilient buildings more accessible to clients of all income levels and lifestyles, while recognizing that for sustainable housing to be the choice for all homeowners it must also be both beautiful and functional.

Naryn Davar, MArch, BEDS

Naryn is a 2013 graduate of the Master of Architecture program at Dalhousie University where he now works as a sessional instructor in technology. His interests in architecture are explored through the lens of social and environmental ethics, with a particular interest in the use of technology in design process to make objective and effective decisions that increase the performance and accessibility of good design.

Naryn joined the Passive Design Solutions team in 2016, bringing together his core interests in industry-led environmentalism and application of technology in practice.

Willem Paynter, ESET, BA

Willem holds a technical diploma in Energy Sustainability Engineering Technology from Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC). While still in school, he provided energy modeling for a sustainable architecture firm. He has also worked on smart grid technology, conducting research at the NSCC Applied Energy Research lab.

Will brings many skills to the team, including energy modeling, mechanical and electrical spec writing, and PH certification services. He has a deep knowledge of energy efficiency and believes that all buildings can be comfortable, beautiful, and durable without sacrificing sustainability.

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