It is a building standard- Passive House is considered the most rigorous voluntary, energy & health based standard in the design & construction industry today, resulting in buildings that consume as much as 90% less heating & cooling energy compared to conventional buildings. Applicable to any building type or design, the Passive House (Passivhaus) high-performance building standard is internationally recognized, science based & proven.
It is a methodology- In a Passive House certified building, there is a continuous supply of filtered clean air, indoor temperatures are always comfortable and the energy used for heating & cooling is minimised. When it is too hot or too cold, too noisy or outdoor air quality is poor, you close the windows and fresh air is supplied via a mechanical ventilation system with a high quality heat exchanger. This means that you get continous fresh air in a very efficient manner. Thermal comfort is maintained & heating & cooling loads are minimised through passive measures such as improved insulation, high quality windows, optimal use of passive solar energy, external shading & limiting unwanted heat loss or gain by addressing thermal bridges. All the building information is entered into a design tool – the Passive House Planning Package PHPP- which is essential for designing a Passive House Building.
Its not just for Houses- The name comes from the German “Passivehaus” Passive house is passive in the sense that the high performance building envelope does most of the work to maintain comfortable temperatures, without active input from the occupant. “Haus” is the direct german translation of building, encompassing everything from single & multi residential buildings to schools, hospitals & offices.
It applies to both new & existing buildings- Although Passive House certification is best suited to new construction, the EnerPHit certification criteria has been developed just for retrofits. You can comply with EnerPHit by complying with a criteria that makes some allowances for the existing structure. Any building type can be designed & certified as a Passive House project, it is not limited to residential buildings.