Eight Reasons for Passive House Growth

It’s no secret that Passivhaus, or Passive House, is exploding in popularity right now.  This site is publishing more about Passive House every week and readers seem to be more interested in these ultra-efficient homes than ever.  In fact, the volume of news references for “Passive House” and “Passivhaus” is up in recent years, according to a simple search using Google Trends.

So, what’s the secret behind the success of Passive House?

Dr. Wolfgang Feist, professor at the University of Innsbruck and founder of the Passivhaus Institut in Germany, explains in Passive Houses – The Secrets why this standard has become the “yardstick for the measurement of sustainable construction.

1.  Realized Projects.  There are thousands of Passive House projects around the world.  Many have open documents in support of performance accomplishments.

2.  Tried and Tested.  Passive Houses deliver tremendous energy savings and the results are demonstrated in tons of monitored examples.

3.  Life Cycle Affordability.  These homes achieve their energy savings through careful design and smart construction, not expensive gadgetry.  The savings add up at the front and over time.

4.  Best Indoor Air Quality.  Passive Houses have great ventilation systems and will provide top-notch indoor air quality without using much energy.

5.  No Metering.  Some homes will use more energy in a month than a Passive House might use in a year.  The energy use is so small, it may not pay to meter energy use.

6.  Openly Learnable.  The Passive House standard requires study and learning, but it’s not a secret or complicated program.  Those that put in the time will pick it up.

7.  Best Thermal Comfort.  These houses are bright, clean, and comfortable with less drafts and temperature differences.

8.  Architecturally Advantageous.  Passive Houses can be architecturally significant and energy saving at the same time.  The program doesn’t mandate a certain style, it requires airtight construction and a low-energy design.

[+] Read Passive Houses — the Secrets by Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Feist.

Credits: Elliott Kaufman of the First Passive House in New York.


  • Anonymous

    #5 is backwards.  Flip year and month.

    • http://www.jetsongreen.com Preston

      Thanks for catching that!

  • http://bruteforcecollaborative.com/ mike eliason

    9. CO2 emissions of a Passivhaus are significantly lower than average home. For a mixed-use building, and annual CO2 emissions reduction approaches 80% for the worst performing Passivhaus.

  • njneer

    I think it is a great idea, but so far, I haven’t seen examples of architecturally interesting (modern/contemporary type) homes using passivhaus technology.  Do you know of a web site showing photos of architecturally interesting homes using this methodology?  Thank you.

  • http://www.sethneal.com/ Seth Neal

    Best. Post. Ever!

    Thanks man! Love it.

  • Tom B-D

    @ njneer: There are lots of beautiful PH projects, and this site has a lot of recent ones: http://www.rootdesignbuild.com/blog/uncategorized/passivhaus-around-the-world-part-1-houses-continued/  This will take you to Part 1, but check out Part 2 as well.  One of the fascinating aspect of the PH standard is that it requires a climate- and site-specific design solution, so regional differences show up in the design…the way buildings used to be before advanced technology.  It’s new/old. 
    Tom Bassett-Dilley, AIA CPHC

  • acm

    This is encouraging.  Unfortunately, most of these are solidly in the realm of sprawl.  Until we eliminate incentive for sprawl the carbon we save on heating will still be wasted by cars.

    • Cloud Ponderer

       Agreed, green still seems to be the bastion of wealth and privilege. Even the small homes are second (and third) homes. Those who could afford more simply pay more to build less, differently. The goal should be to become de rigueur. When it is ever-present, everywhere it will have been accomplished. Like the incredible scribed designs on the insides of Victorian door hinges. They are hidden almost all the time, and yet, everyone took the extra time and effort to do it, just because that was the way it was done.

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