From environmental certifications to solar power and green roofs, we take a look at structures that were built with sustainability as a priority

For the design of this residential project in Vancouver’s Riley Park neighbourhood, One Seed Architecture  + Interiors wanted to create a healthy and comfortable home for a young, outdoorsy family with international roots. Khotso Passive House exudes just that, offering a space that reflects the family’s modern style while representing the sustainable Passive House envelope.

‘Khotso’ is the Sesotho word for ‘calm’ and ‘peace’. The name honours the family's aspirations for the home in the language of Lethoso, a small African country and a place of importance in the owner’s childhood and shared travels.One Seed passive houseOne Seed Architecture + Interiors“Our clients and project team know that Passive House is a smarter way to build,” says One Seed, “The owners wanted to play a role in pushing sustainable market transformation in Vancouver’s construction industry.”

The team wanted to create a home that not only met Passive House standards, but was also "beautiful, modern, functional, and elegantly simple". Modernist flat-roofed boxes are terraced to capitalize on the southern exposure of the back, while a monochromatic exterior colour palette ‘plays with the textural differences’ between the corrugated steel siding and large format fibre-cement panels.passive house Riley Park VancouverOne Seed Architecture + InteriorsThe architectural form of the stair tower gives the home a distinct, modern presence in the surrounding area, inspired by a lighthouse or beacon. It plays a critical role in the passive functioning of the house, a role that varies by season.

In addition to providing south-facing glass for solar heat collection, it also offers open riser stairs for natural light diffusion and air movement, a powerful stack effect for passive cooling with tilt and turn doors at top and bottom, and access to the green roof.

A space-savvy floor plan provides the home with the versatility to grow and evolve alongside the multi-generational family. The separate two-bedroom secondary suite at the garden level was designed for the homeowners' parents and is placed low in the ground. This can be hard to tell due to the large windows on the front—which open onto a private sunken garden—and the floor-to-ceiling glass wall at the back, complete with a walk-out patio and sloped garden.

Last but not least, a green roof and rooftop patio provide private outdoor space with amazing views and solar access. A small study at the top of the stairs opens out onto the green roof while capturing sweeping, north-facing views of the mountains and city.Khotso houseOne Seed Architecture + Interiors