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Emerging Technologies
Application Technology of Passive House

Passive building comprises a set of design principles used to attain a quantifiable and rigorous level of energy efficiency within a specific quantifiable comfort level. "Optimize your gains and losses" based on climate summarizes the approach. To that end, a passive building is designed and built in accordance with these five building-science principles:

Employs continuous insulation throughout its entire envelope without any thermal bridging.

The building envelope is extremely airtight, preventing infiltration of outside air and loss of conditioned air.

Employs high-performance windows (double or triple-paned windows depending on climate and building type) and doors - solar gain is managed to exploit the sun's energy for heating purposes in the heating season and to minimize overheating during the cooling season.

Uses some form of balanced heat- and moisture-recovery ventilation.

Uses a minimal space conditioning system.

Passive building principles can be applied to all building typologies – from single-family homes to multifamily apartment buildings, offices, and skyscrapers.

Passive design strategy carefully models and balances a comprehensive set of factors including heat emissions from appliances and occupants to keep the building at comfortable and consistent indoor temperatures throughout the heating and cooling seasons. As a result, passive buildings offer tremendous long-term benefits in addition to energy efficiency:

Superinsulation and airtight construction provide unmatched comfort even in extreme weather conditions.

Continuous mechanical ventilation of fresh filtered air provides superb indoor air quality.

A comprehensive systems approach to modeling, design, and construction produces extremely resilient buildings.

Passive building principles offer the best path to Net Zero and Net Positive buildings by minimizing the load that renewables are required to provide.

The Performance Standard

UK building scientists and builders with funding from the UK Department of Energy were the first to pioneer passive building principles in the 1970s. In the late 1980s the UK Passivhaus Institut (UKPI) built on that research and those principles and developed a quantifiable performance standard that continues to work well in the Central European and similar climate zones.

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