A Passive House is a building, for which thermal comfort (ISO 7730) can be achieved
solely by post-heating or post-cooling of the fresh air mass, which is required to
achieve sufficient indoor air quality conditions – without the need for additional
recirculation of air. (Source: passipedia.org)
5 design principles.
The Passive House Standard is an envelope first approach focused on five key design principles,
- increased insulation
- thermal bridge free,
- high quality windows (with solar orientation),
- and ventilation system with heat recovery
This voluntary standard is achievable in most climates. It is performance based to ensure that the
design concept meets the desired indoor thermal comfort and air quality requirements within a given
Thinking about energy savings?
Certified Passive House buildings can result in up to 90% less energy consumption compared to
conventional buildings. Should a building not fully comply with the ambitious Certified Passive
House criteria than a less stringent PHI Low Energy Building Standard could be sought to also
benefit from increased energy efficiency.
EnerPHIT Certification was established specifically for renovation/refurbishment projects should
pursuing the Passive House Standard not be feasible. EnerPHIT utilizes Certified Passive House
Components or through an alternative energy demand method to achieve significant energy savings
(up to 75%-90%)
Not just for residential buildings.
The name ‘Passive House’ may incorrectly lead some people to surmise that the standard only
applies to residential buildings. However, Passive House principles can be applied to single- and
multi-family residential, commercial buildings (such as office + retail) and institutional projects; too
name a few.
More benefits than just energy savings
To meet the Passive House Standard high quality building components must be used resulting in
high quality buildings. The increased cost of these components, compared to those used in most
conventional approaches, may be recovered over the long term due to increased energy savings
(dependent on local energy costs). Further, the increasing popularity of the standard may suggest
that certified components are becoming cheaper locally thus making a passive house more
affordable than in the past.
The performance and evidence based approach ensures that the Passive House Standard will
be achieved. This may differ from a prescriptive method of energy modelling in that, following
construction completion, buildings may not actually perform according to design specifications.
Quality assurance is an integral part of the certification process. A Passive House Certifier is
required to comprehensively review the required design documents prior to construction. This
requires more effort during the design phase but this is important when seeking a high standard of
An occupant may experience increased levels of comfort in a passive house. Reduced drafts, more
stable temperatures across rooms throughout the year, better acoustical separation betweeen
interior and exterior, and the constant supply of fresh air (increasing indoor air quality) are some of
the reasons why a Passive House may feel more comfortable to inhabitants.
Is Passivhaus for you?
Passive House may be something to consider should you be committed to reducing energy
consumption, looking for cost savings over the long term, seeking a high performance building, and/
or desire to increase the interior air quality of your space.