Simply put, a Passive House (or Passivhaus, in its native form) is a building that is optimized to take advantage of free energy sources. Daily household activities along with solar energy, if properly captured, can generally provide all of the heat necessary for human comfort. A Passivhaus is scientifically programmed to manage and conserve these energy sources to render supplemental heating unnecessary except on the coldest days of the year. The result is a savings of up to 90% for heating and cooling.
While substantial savings on energy costs and a greatly reduced impact on our environment are primary benefits, there are other advantages of living in a Passivhaus. For one, fresh and filtered air is supplied continuously while stale and polluted air is exhausted directly outdoors. This results in substantially improved air quality over conventional construction. Another benefit is comfort. While many homes have large temperature variations within the house, a Passivhaus is able to maintain a uniform temperature throughout without drafts or cold surfaces. Also, due to high levels of insulation and heavy-duty windows and doors, a Passivhaus is extremely quiet, making it an ideal building type for urban environments. A serene, healthy, comfortable house along with extra-low utility bills- what’s not to like?
To become Passive House certified, a building must meet three simple but demanding requirements:
– An airtight building shell (maximum 0.6 ACH50), measured by a blower-door test
– An annual requirement of 4.75 kBtu/sf/yr; and
– A primary energy demand of 38.1 kBtu/sf/yr
For more information on Passive House, visit www.passivehouse.us