The Passive House certification is hard to get, and this is especially true for the Passive House Premium certification. The latter is a new level of certification and was introduced in early 2015. It was created in order to account for the transition of building energy sources from fossil sources to renewable energy. And the so-called House of Energy, a building in Kaufbeuren, Germany, has recently become the first structure to receive this prestigious certification, which certainly makes it one of the most sustainable buildings in the world.
The House of Energy has a heating demand of only 0.7 kWh per sq ft (8 kWh per sq m) per year, which is impressive for a building that measures 9,688 sq ft (900 sq m). This is in part achieved by a rooftop mounted PV solar array, which measures a whopping 2,691 sq ft (250 sq m).
The superb energy efficiency of this building was also achieved by installing triple-glazed windows throughout. The house also has a very high level of thermal protection and envelope airtightness, while there are also virtually no thermal bridges. The house also has a very efficient ventilation and heat recovery system, and is fitted with a ground-source heat pump, which provides both heating and hot water. All the surplus energy that is generated is fed back into the grid.
The House of Energy only requires 2 kWh per sq ft (21 kWh per sq m) of renewable primary energy per year. On the whole, constructing this house, as well as ensuring it’s day-to-day operation took advantage of all the well-known sustainable technologies and building methods, yet they are employed to such a high degree that the building merits this highest level of recognition.