What, How, and Why is a Passive House?
Updated: Aug 31, 2022
What exactly is a Passive House?
Passive House is a strict, high-performance building standard that drastically minimizes a structure's energy requirements. Passive House structures consistently achieve energy savings of 80-90 percent as compared to buildings constructed to fulfill current minimal building and energy code standards. In contrast to passive solar design alone or other green building certification programs such as LEED, the Passive House building technique is a holistic strategy that ensures thermal comfort, good indoor air quality, and verifiable energy efficiency.
Passive is not only a residential House
Passive House design may be applied to any structure, large or little, new or old. Although single-family houses account for the vast majority of Certified Passive House projects in the United States, the building science concepts behind the Passive House standard apply as well to offices and factories, schools and libraries, hotels and apartment complexes. It is difficult, but not impossible, to renovate an existing structure to Passive House standards. However, whether or not they are Certified Passive House Renovations, thorough energy retrofits that incorporate Passive House techniques yield significant energy savings and comfort advantages.
How it works
Passive House is a strict, high-performance construction standard that drastically minimizes a structure's energy requirements. When compared to buildings constructed to fulfill current minimal construction and energy code standards, Passive House designs consistently achieve energy savings of 80-90 percent. Unlike passive solar design alone or other green building certification programs like LEED, the Passive House building technique is a holistic approach to ensuring thermal comfort, good indoor air quality, and verifiable energy efficiency.
Why choose a Passive House?
Since 1880, when global temperature data collection began, the Earth has warmed by around 2 degrees Fahrenheit. Two degrees may not seem like much, but it is enough to begin melting much of the world's land ice and accelerate oceanic rise. We are already experiencing and feeling the consequences of climate change, whether we recognize it or not, and if carbon emissions continue unabated, experts believe these effects will become severe over the next 30 years.
Buildings, like automobiles and trucks, are important carbon emitters. Because the technology to transition to low and zero-carbon buildings already exists, widespread adoption of the Passive House construction standard would be one of the least expensive and most effective strategies to cut world carbon emissions by approximately 40%.
However, implementation of the Passive House building standard is not dependent on environmental awareness or the concerns of climate change. Even if you don't care about the future of our planet, Passive House structures have a number of appealing benefits for anybody who values having a good night's sleep, breathing healthy air, feeling warm in winter and cool in summer indoors, and spending less money on energy bills.