The Passive House Standard has shifted both North America and many other European countries’ construction industry. Developers and businesses are turning to Passive House to deliver high-performance buildings to save on operational costs and differentiate themselves from the competition. Passive House building’s utilize design tools, energy modeling, and high-performance components to cost-effectively optimize a building to lower energy consumption. The cost to conserve energy is cheaper than the cost to generate it.
The term Passive House (Passivhaus in German) refers to a rigorous, voluntary world-leading standard in energy-efficient construction for both new and renovated buildings. Passive House is currently a niche construction market that may potentially achieve mainstream adoption in North America USA and European Countries.
Passive House has been recognized at a national level as governments develop policies to encourage energy conservation in buildings.
Nothing is more important than the health and comfort of your family. Acute health and discomfort effects due to poor indoor air quality are a common problem in many conventionally constructed buildings. The source of the poor indoor air quality stems from the lack of adequate fresh-air intake/air filtration, improper exhaust ventilation, and contaminates produced from off-gassing building materials, volatile organic compounds (VOC), and mold. Conventional construction depends on active mechanical systems to heat interior surfaces to reduce condensation on areas of low thermal resistance (windows, thermal bridges, etc.). This is very difficult to accomplish in colder climates resulting in condensation, mold, and mildew forming on the interior side of the building enclosure. A building with inadequate ventilation builds up carbon dioxide and can cause drowsiness, fatigue and reduced cognitive function.
Passive Houses must utilize a heat recovery ventilation (HRV) system delivering constant fresh filtrated air resulting in better indoor air quality and lower levels of carbon dioxide, creating a healthy space to live. HRV systems are only functional with airtight building enclosures to ensure all infiltrating and exfiltrating air is controlled. The airtightness of a Passive House must be verified with a Blower Door Test.
Passive House is a methodology to achieve the rigorous performance requirements of the standard. A Passive House should first look to maximize free energy from the sun through passive measures such as orientation to the south (in the northern hemisphere), massing and passive solar design. Reducing thermal losses is more difficult to accomplish and usually requires a super-insulated and airtight building envelope. Because the building is airtight, a continuous supply of filtered fresh air is supplied to the living room and bedroom spaces and stale air is exhausted from the kitchen and bathrooms. This provides balanced and controlled ventilation to maintain very high indoor air quality and enables the heat recovery ventilation system to function properly. The Passive House Institute (PHI) qualifies designers to help ensure that the design and construction are completed with the highest competence possible.
IMPACT ENERGY CONSULTING has been working within this methodology since Cody completed the Passive House Design/Construction Course in 2012. Subsequently he wrote the Certified Passive House Designer Examination and was awarded the Certified Passive House Designer (CPHD) designation by PHI in Darmstadt, Germany. Cody provides energy modeling and project guidance to homeowners, architects, residential designers, developers and builders considering Passive House projects.