A Passive House (or Passiv Haus) can be any type of building, large or small, residential or commercial - a home, an apartment, school, office or factory.
The Passive House aim is to create buildings that are warm, comfortable and healthy with fresh, clean air and with no mould or condensation while using very little energy for heating and cooling.
This is achieved by a “Fabric First” approach, focussing on the passive parts of the building envelope - the floors, walls, windows and roof - to get them performing very well. If we do this we don’t need to add alot of active equipment and use alot of energy to stop the building over heating or getting too cold.
A Passive House has super insulation - much thicker than the Building Code minimum.
A Passive House is airtight to limit heat loss through gaps in the floors, walls, windows and roof.
A Passive House has no thermal bridges - energy super highways - that easily leak heat through the building envelope.
A Passive House uses building science and materials to control water vapour movement and prevent condensation inside the rooms and within the structure.
A Passive House has high performance windows and glazing. A standard double glazed window leaks 10 times more heat than a standard insulated wall.
A Passive House is orientated properly toward the sun for free winter heating and with good shading to prevent summer over heating.
A Passive House has an excellent ventilation system, circulating clean, fresh, filtered air while using an energy exchanger to exhaust the stale air while keeping the heat inside.
Add all these things together and you get a Passive House that keeps warm and comfortable only using heat captured from the sun and the internal heat generated by the occupants and appliances.
We are working on a more comprehensive discussion on Passive House, but in the meantime here is a video by Hans-Jörn Eich that does a great job of explaining the main principles in just 90 seconds.