Passive House is the most energy-efficient building standard in the market today. Better than Leed, better than Energy Star®, better than every other standard we know.
Passive House is the most energy-efficient building standard in the market today—better than Leed, better than Energy Star®, better than every other standard we know. Better still, it's a verified standard. In order to become a certified Passive House, the finished building has to be tested to ensure that it actually meets its design goals. No other energy standard requires this. Not one.
We've been building Passive Houses for over 10 years now. We know from experience that it takes tons of planning and precise building techniques. A house can't be "sort of a Passive House." it either is or it isn't. There is no grey area when it comes to Passive House certification. There is a science (and an art) to creating the perfect passive house.
1. Thermal bridge free design
All opaque building components (things other than windows or doors) of the exterior envelope of the house must be very well-insulated. For most cool-temperate climates, this means a heat transfer coefficient (U-value) of 0.15 W/(m²K) at the most, i.e. a maximum of 0.15 watts per degree of temperature difference and per square meter of exterior surface are lost (R-value of 6.667 or greater).
2. Superior, triple-glazed windows
The window frames must be well insulated and fitted with low-e glazings filled with argon or krypton to prevent heat transfer. For most cool-temperate climates, this means a U-value of 0.80 W/(m²K) or less (R-value 1.25 or higher), with g-values around 50% (g-value= total solar transmittance, proportion of the solar energy available for the room).
3. Ventilation with heat recovery
Efficient heat recovery ventilation is key, allowing for a good indoor air quality and saving energy. In Passive House, at least 75% of the heat from the exhaust air is transferred to the fresh air again by means of a heat exchanger.
4. Proper insulation and air sealing
Uncontrolled leakage through gaps must be smaller than 0.6 of the total house volume per hour during a pressure test at 50 Pascals (both pressurized and depressurized).
All edges, corners, connections and penetrations must be planned and executed with great care, so that thermal bridges can be avoided. Thermal bridges which cannot be avoided must be minimised as much as possible.
6. Healthy and sustainable building products.
Passive House is a global, metric-based building energy standard.
Influenced by the work of American researchers, the Passive House concept originated in Germany, so it is often called by the German spelling, Passivhaus. At ECOCOR, we use the American spelling. Although a central idea in Passive House design is the use of solar energy as a heat source, the paradigm goes far beyond the experimental housing of the 1970’s and 1980’s.
Passive House Institute US, Inc. (PHIUS) is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is to develop and promote North American passive building standards, practices, and certifications that apply to buildings, professionals, and products. We are committed to making high-performance passive building the mainstream market standard.
PHIUS released the PHIUS+2015 Passive Building Standard in March of 2015, the only passive building standard available that is based on climate-specific comfort and performance criteria, and the only passive building standard that requires onsite QA/QC for certification.