Passive House is a universal standard for energy efficient buildings in which a comfortable interior climate can be maintained without active heating and cooling systems. The house heats and cools itself, hence ‘passive’.
Passive Houses are very well insulated and draft-proofed buildings with annual space heating demand so low that conventional heating systems such as furnaces or boilers can be omitted. Most Passive House Projects result in 90% less heating demand than a typical Canadian house. These savings can be achieved for a construction cost premium of 10% or less.
A high efficiency heat recovery ventilator maintains excellent indoor air quality – and distributes heat when necessary.
The lack of a primary heating system eliminates a large up-front expense as well as ongoing maintenance and operational costs.
Passive House is not a brand or a product. There are no complex, costly or proprietary systems required. Rather it is a combination of appropriate design and components working together to achieve high thermal performance.
The critical components of the Passive House standard are:
- Excellent insulation
- High performance windows
- Airtight construction
- Reduced thermal bridging
- High efficiency heat-recovery ventilation
- Compact building form
- Passive heat sources (solar, appliances, lighting and occupants)
- Energy modeling in the Passive House Planning Package
Construction need not vary greatly from conventional local methods and materials. The main difference is thicker walls, more insulation and an attention to detail that eliminates the dozens of air and thermal leaks common in conventional construction. The result is more comfort and a higher value home that costs no more. The slightly higher mortgage payments are immediately offset by much lower heating costs.
Beginning in Germany in 1990, 40,000 Passive Houses (Passivhaus) have now been built around the world in every climate zone. There are a growing number in B.C. In 2020 most new buildings in Europe will be required to meet the thermal performance equivalent to Passive House.
We are Passive House certified and have associations with builders and contractors who also have the training necessary to achieve this high standard of comfort and efficiency. We look forward to working with those of you who appreciate the comfort of owning a certified Passive House.
Pacific Image Home Designs Ltd. is an active member of the Canadian Passive House Institute (CanPHI).