Passive House

The Passive House concept represents today's highest energy standard with the promise of reducing the heating energy consumption of buildings by an amazing 90%. A Passive House is a very well-insulated, virtually air-tight building that is primarily heated by passive solar gain and by internal gains from people, electrical equipment, etc.  Any remaining heat demand is provided by an extremely small heating source. Avoidance of heat gain through shading and window orientation also helps to limit any cooling load, which is similarly minimized. An energy recovery ventilator provides a constant, balanced fresh air supply. The result is an impressive system that not only reduces heating costs, but also provides superior  indoor air quality.

Performance Requirements

  1. Infiltration rate:  ≤ 0.6 ACH @ 50 pascal pressure, measured by blower door test

  2. Annual heat requirement: ≤ 15 kWh/m2/year (4.75 kBtu/sf/yr)

  3. Primary Energy: ≤ 120 kWh/m2/year (38.1 kBtu/sf/yr)

Design Support & Building Services

Passive House certification is not easy. The air leakage, annual heating, and primary energy requirements are demanding and difficult to achieve. Our knowledge of construction, building science, and cost-effective energy efficiency strategies will guide project teams through certification.

General Contracting- Full design + build services for Passive House projects.

Integrative Design-  We will assist in developing a synergistic project team. Selecting the right designer and subcontractors is critical to the success of a Passive House project.  We organize planning/design meetings and insist that the all subs participate in these meetings. By receiving input from the trade contractors better design is achieved.

High Performance Details- We have developed PDF and DWG (CAD) details that can be integrated into plans, job scope, and sub contractor checklists. Details include: air sealing (framing+enclosure penetrations), double wall cross sections, airtight drywall installation, and duct sealing.

High Performance Checklists- We have developed 15+ checklists for high performance homebuilding. These will be used at every phase of design and construction- planning meetings, site prep, foundations, framing, roofing, HVAC, plumbing & electrical, weather barriers & exteriors, windows, insulation, drywall, finishes & appliances, and homeowner education.

Job Scope Development- Given the complexity of Passive House certification, it is important that trades be informed on  the scope of work up front. Doing so will reduce discrepancies in the field.

About Passive House Institute US

The Passive House Institute US (PHIUS) is a consulting and research firm working to further the implementation of Passive House standards and techniques nationwide.

In January 2008, PHIUS was authorized by the Passivhaus Institiute in Darmstadt, Germany as the official Certifier of Passive Houses in the US.