Passive House is the world's most rigorous standard for energy efficient construction. At its core, Passive House is a design methodology and third party certification system resulting in homes that consume 90% less energy than conventional ones. The system combines high performance building enclosures with passive solar design strategies to create cost effective, comfortable, energy efficient buildings. It has been effectively applied to more than 20,000 projects worldwide, ranging from single family homes to very large commercial and institutional buildings.
Solares has been working within this methodology since Tom completed the training course in 2010. In 2011 he wrote the Passive House Designer Examination and was awarded the Passive House Designer designation by the Passivhaus Institut in Darmstadt Germany.
The name Passive House can be misleading as it is often confused with passive solar design, which is different. The premise of Passive House is simple: build a very airtight, highly insulated building and then heat it passively, using the sun and waste heat produced by appliances and occupants. In addition, minimize or eliminate the need for cooling, through shading and passive ventilation.
The beauty, and the difficulty of the system, is that there are only four criteria to meet for certification: heating load, energy used on site, airtightness, and occasions of overheating. While the system is adjusted by building area, it is not adjusted for climate, making it difficult to meet the standard in Ontario as our climate is significantly colder than in central Europe.
The new PHIUS standard for North America is aiming to change that. By adapting the system to the North American climate, more and more projects will be able to achieve the rigorous Passive House standards. Even if it remains a lofty goal however, Passive House provides an excellent framework to work within and to measure degrees of success.
For a more colourful description of the system, follow the links below to watch this award winning American Documentary, Passive Passion.
To read further about Passive House, see the following links