About MardaView

& Socially Responsible Green Home


MardaView uses 63% less energy compared to a typical house of the same size. This is because the building was strategically designed to take advantage of Calgary’s ~333 sunny days a year with passive solar design, super Insulated Concrete Forms (ICF), Innotech triple-pane windows and doors, and solar hot water preheat system. (Please see EnerGuide Report). Building materials were sourced based on the The 100-mile Diet’ principle to reduce transportation impacts and support local businesses.

Water is conserved via a zero scape front yard, a back yard water feature fed by rainwater, a green roof on the garage and an efficient automatic watering system in the back yard. The back yard garden also supports local butterflies and bees. MardaView is Net-Zero ready if the new owner wants to take it to the next level.

And finally, when you live and work in a walkable community, you’ll find you can reduce your carbon footprint even more. 

“The best Blower Door Test result I have ever seen—0.17 ACH!” – Marco Carello of West Pro Inspections.

MardaView's Modern Home Design

MardaView’s modern architecture is tailored to the elevated, southern-exposed land it is built on. There are large amounts of glass on the southern wall of the house and less glass on the remaining walls. The south windows allow passive solar energy into the home where it is stored in the high mass concrete floors and walls. In the evening, this stored energy radiates into the living area of the house, keeping it toasty warm.

The best part about Calgary’s location is more energy is captured in the winter, as the sun is lower on the southern horizon, which allows more light and energy (read: heat) to enter the house in the cold conditions. When the sun is higher in the summer, very little energy enters the home through the windows. The simple, efficient boiler and in-floor heating system could heat the entire house on its own, but only needs to supplement the free passive solar energy to maintain comfy and even temperatures in this luxury home.


If the natural gas supply was interrupted in January, the house would maintain a temperature of about 15 degrees Celsius thanks to passive solar. During construction with no heat, no roof insulation and unsealed windows, the house maintained 10 degrees Celsius in January. 


Learn more about MardaView

Non-solar Heat Source

A Viessmann wall-mounted boiler was chosen because Viessmann is one of the best boiler manufacturers for older model parts availability. It is a German company started in 1917 and is family owned to this day. This does not guarantee “forever” factory support, but because MardaView is going to last a long time, component decisions were based on longevity, efficiency, then location of manufacture.


Concrete filled Insulated Concrete Forms (ICFs) were chosen as the building medium, as it was easy to add more insulation and provides a quiet, ultra-strong monolithic, high mass structure required for the passive solar design. One of the best comfort characteristics of the concrete is the cocoon-like feeling the owners feel when in the home. City sounds are effectively muted or completely eliminated when the doors and windows are closed. It’s also hard to argue with the disaster resistant qualities of ICFs. Image of unfilled ICF during construction Image of three ICF homes after a California brush fire in 2008 Concrete is not the “greenest” building product out there, but its strength, longevity, mass and thermal properties work really well for this house. To offset the high embodied energy of concrete (it takes a lot of energy to manufacture), we used products with fly-ash content to use up some stable waste from electricity generation.


To keep the huge concrete thermal mass in the “inside” of the house, three inches of extra insulation was added to the outside of the ICFs resulting in an R37 insulation value for the walls. The roof insulation is R60.


MardaView engineering was handled by Rob Risoti. This man does not mess around and builds stuff to last. Typical house footings are 18” wide and 6-7 inches deep. MardaView footings are 5 feet wide and 18 inches deep (on good soil too!). Image of concrete footings during construction. In this photo Al, one of the owner’s construction workers, is standing on one of the larger footings. The owners had a lot of curious builders and tradespeople stop by while they were building the house, and the owners were amazed at how many criticized them for “overbuilding” the house. These outsiders just couldn’t get that the intent was to build something that would be effective and last centuries, rather than making a quick buck.


Locally manufactured HAMBRO open web steel floor joists were used to support the heated concrete diaphragm-type floors and allow ducting and wiring to run in any direction, so there are no eye-catching bulkheads hanging from any ceilings to cover up mechanical systems. The floor system is very strong, requiring no interior load-bearing walls. This means a new owner has unlimited floor plan options if she or he chooses to renovate in the future. Image of HAMBRO open web steel floor joists


A continuous utility corridor runs from the main utility room in the basement to the Penthouse-floor. This utility corridor is accessible from every floor. It was built for the sole purpose of repairing, adding or upgrading mechanical systems as the house ages. The owners also cored then sealed and insulated multiple holes in the utility run exterior walls, enabling a new owner to install air conditioning or solar panels (or any future tech). Therefore, the utility corridor has a nice selection of dedicated holes to choose from for future installation needs.


There are 167 pot lights in the house, and they are all LED to reduce energy use and bulb change-outs. Yes, there is a lot of light, but the owners wanted the option of being able to dim lights rather than wishing for more light.


Over two km of wire in MardaView supplies security cameras, speakers, internet, lights and outlets. The best part about wire is there are no software upgrades and no real obsolescence. High-tech smart homes are fine if you don’t mind upgrading hardware (or firmware) as it becomes obsolete sooner and sooner.

Gas Lines

MardaView has gas lines and electrical cable to all major appliances. If a new owner would rather use electricity than gas for the cooktop, it is a simple switch out—not a major rework. Gas BBQ fittings are located on the main-floor and Penthouse-floor south top floor decks for BBQ flexibility.


Passive solar design and the boiler was covered above, but we didn’t cover “why” we chose in-floor heating.
The best thing about in-floor heat is the unparalleled Thermal Comfort, but it is more than that. A typical furnace heats up air and blows it around to heat the surrounding area via conduction. Air cannot hold very much energy, so it is an uphill battle to heat the surroundings. Forced air heating does work, it is cheap to build and cheap to install. However, it will never compare to in-floor radiant heat’s comfort and in-floor heat does not circulate air from room to room. The cons of in-floor heat is the initial expense (which we’ve already taken care of), and it takes a half hour to make a room hotter or cooler.

Natural Ventilation

In Calgary, the prevailing winds travel from the NW to the SE, so every above-grade floor has openable windows on the north and south walls allowing effective horizontal cross-flow ventilation. There is also a vertical component of natural air flow where cool air enters the walk-out basement windows and gradually gets sucked up through the open stairwell to an operable window located specifically to exhaust hot air at the very top of the stairwell. This “chimney effect” is amazing to experience, as you can observe light-weight particles traveling upwards in the stairwell!


German-designed Innotech windows were chosen, as they have a great reputation, are built in Abbotsford, BC and they seal really well. Every door and window is triple pane except the large slider on the Penthouse-floor. As triple pane windows are really HEAVY, the big slider had to be double pane so as to not overload the window hardware. All operable windows are of tilt-and-turn design, allowing them to be opened in vent mode and still be secure. They can also be opened fully to be cleaned inside and out.

Efficiency Certification

The only house-certification body the current owner/ builder respects is Passive Haus because they have similar philosophies like “don’t work against nature and physics, work with it”. The only true test of a home’s efficiency is how much energy it uses while it is being lived in over the course of a year (or years). The average monthly utility bill for MardaView in 2019 was $259.98. The utility bill includes gas, electricity, water, sewer, bin service and whatever other administrative fees the City tack on. The lowest total monthly bill for 2019 was $201.85 and the highest was $352.64. In February 2019, an independent Energy Audit was performed, which you can see below. You can review the full EnerGuide Report here.

Blower Door Test

A Blower Door Test is a method of measuring how “air tight” a building is. The test centres on a big fan mounted to the front door of the house that tries to suck all the air out of the building. The fan is adjusted to create a 50 Pascal condition (a constant state of reduced pressure) in the house, so outside air is entering every crack, hole and gap in the house. The air leaving the house through the fan is measured and produces an Air Change Per Hour (ACH) measurement. Think about that: a Blower Door Test measures how many times the total house volume of air enters and exits your house every hour. The 50 Pascals is kinda sorta the equivalent of your house in a 40 kph wind.
It is the owner/ builder’s humble opinion that a Blower Door Test is an effective method of judging the overall quality of a house. The ACH measurement of a house tells him how much care was taken by a number of trades and services. For example, if a house has a good ACH figure, it means the windows, doors and vapour barrier were installed with care. It also indicates other trades such as electricians, plumbers and accessory installers did not breach the effective work of the window, door and vapour barrier installers. MardaView had two Blower Door Tests performed. The first was pre-drywall construction to assess the general external envelope and fix any leaks. ACH at this time was 0.30. The second test was included in an independent energy audit performed in February of 2019. The 2019 test produced an ACH of 0.17. Please compare these numbers to the figures in the graphic below. Typical Blower Door Test Results You can review the full EnerGuide report here.


Marda Loop is a safe neighbourhood, but as with every city (suburban or inner), there are nuisance crimes. MardaView was designed to thwart these crimes with a simple, overall security plan laid out long before construction started. We’ve had no thefts or break-ins to date. Here are a few of the security features:

  • No outside access from alley to the garage man-door
  • Garage car-door incorporates an automatic deadbolt to stop “pry-ins”
  • 11 motion-activated 19” rack mounted security camera system
  • Front door, front yard, rear yard cameras
  • Overlapping, garage-mounted security cameras give a clear view of the alley
  • Motion-sensing security lights on the garage
  • Motion sensor in the garage is tied into house alarm system
  • Garage door opener turns rear yard lights on and off with operation
  • Garage car-door operation sends notifications to a smartphone application
  • Security camera on garage man-door
  • Commercial steel man-door to garage
  • No side-yard access from front to back yard
  • Motion sensing lights on both sides of the house
  • North to south facing cameras on both sides of house
  • Rear yard motion sensing security lights
  • Hard wired Honeywell alarm system with 4 user-interfaces (1 keypad & 3 graphic)
  • Wired alarm system incorporates traditional door and window switches, plus glass break and motion sensors
  • Glass break security film on walk-out basement bedroom window
  • It’s all about the “ounce of prevention” saying

By the Numbers

  • 14 tons of rebar
  • 200 cubic yards of concrete
  • Over 2 kilometres of wire
  • 167 pot lights
  • 3 years to build
  • R60 roof insulation
  • R37 wall insulation
  • 0.17 ACH Blower Door Test Result