Passivhaus Institut

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Measuring Passive House Energy Performance

Monitoring data from two Passive House projects show the gap between predicted results and actual energy use

Posted on Aug 22 2017 by Katrin Klingenberg

After a period of growth in the '70s and '80s, and a brief hiatus in the '90s, passive building principles and metrics are making an impressive comeback in North America. Passive principles were developed 40-plus years ago by pioneers including William Shurcliff, Rob Dumont, and Joe Lstiburek — to mention just a few. Today, these principles are broadly seen as critical for a renewable energy future.


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Image Credits:

  1. All images: Passive House Institute U.S.

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Passivhaus Institut Launches Online Training

New video modules in English are an introduction to this high-performance building approach

Posted on Mar 25 2016 by Scott Gibson

The Passivhaus Institut (PHI), headquartered in Darmstadt, Germany, announced an online training program that could be the starting point for those who want to become designers and consultants.

The video modules are available in English. They are designed as an introduction for beginners in Passivhaus design and as preparatory material for courses leading to certification as a Passive HouseA residential building construction standard requiring very low levels of air leakage, very high levels of insulation, and windows with a very low U-factor. Developed in the early 1990s by Bo Adamson and Wolfgang Feist, the standard is now promoted by the Passivhaus Institut in Darmstadt, Germany. To meet the standard, a home must have an infiltration rate no greater than 0.60 AC/H @ 50 pascals, a maximum annual heating energy use of 15 kWh per square meter (4,755 Btu per square foot), a maximum annual cooling energy use of 15 kWh per square meter (1.39 kWh per square foot), and maximum source energy use for all purposes of 120 kWh per square meter (11.1 kWh per square foot). The standard recommends, but does not require, a maximum design heating load of 10 W per square meter and windows with a maximum U-factor of 0.14. The Passivhaus standard was developed for buildings in central and northern Europe; efforts are underway to clarify the best techniques to achieve the standard for buildings in hot climates. designer or consultant, PHI said in its March 23 press release.


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  1. Passivhaus Institut

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The 2015 Passive House Conference in Germany

Architects, builders, and consultants from around the world gathered for a meeting in Leipzig

Posted on May 4 2015 by Ken Levenson

The 19th Annual International Passive HouseA residential building construction standard requiring very low levels of air leakage, very high levels of insulation, and windows with a very low U-factor. Developed in the early 1990s by Bo Adamson and Wolfgang Feist, the standard is now promoted by the Passivhaus Institut in Darmstadt, Germany. To meet the standard, a home must have an infiltration rate no greater than 0.60 AC/H @ 50 pascals, a maximum annual heating energy use of 15 kWh per square meter (4,755 Btu per square foot), a maximum annual cooling energy use of 15 kWh per square meter (1.39 kWh per square foot), and maximum source energy use for all purposes of 120 kWh per square meter (11.1 kWh per square foot). The standard recommends, but does not require, a maximum design heating load of 10 W per square meter and windows with a maximum U-factor of 0.14. The Passivhaus standard was developed for buildings in central and northern Europe; efforts are underway to clarify the best techniques to achieve the standard for buildings in hot climates. conference was held in Leipzig, Germany, on April 17-18, 2015. With large contingents attending from North America and China, as well as an emerging group of practitioners stretching across the Mediterranean from Turkey to Portugal, the global effort of Passive House was palpable.

Compared to previous years, project types continue to expand, from factories, to office complexes to day-care centers. So do the details: optimizing thermal bridges, earthquake load requirements, incorporating wood-fired furnaces, and onsite renewables.


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  1. All images: Ken Levenson

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Passivhaus Hits a Big Milestone

The German-based Passivhaus Institut says there are now 1 million square meters of certified space in the world

Posted on Dec 10 2014 by Scott Gibson

At least symbolically, it was a refurbished Craftsman bungalow in Santa Cruz, California, that helped nudge the total of certified floor area meeting the Passivhaus standard beyond the 1 million square meter mark, the German-based Passivhaus Institut said.


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Comparing North American Window Frames to European Frames

Thin North American window frames with a high U-factor sometimes perform about the same as European window frames with a lower U-factor

Posted on Nov 6 2014 by Stephen Thwaites

[Editor's note: The author of this article, Stephen Thwaites, is a window manufacturer. His company, Thermotech Fiberglass FenestrationTechnically, any transparent or translucent material plus any sash, frame, mullion, or divider attached to it, including windows, skylights, glass doors, and curtain walls., is located in Ottawa, Ontario.]


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  1. Image #1: Makrowin
  2. Images #2 and #3: Stephen Thwaites

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Wolfgang Feist Defends Thick Insulation

After giving the keynote address at the 2014 North American Passive House Network conference in Maine, Dr. Feist agreed to be interviewed

Posted on Oct 3 2014 by Martin Holladay

Dr. Wolfgang Feist is the founder of the Passivhaus Institut in Darmstadt, Germany. On September 22, 2014, after Feist gave an address at a Passive House conference in Portland, Maine, he agreed to be interviewed. (For links to my two previous interviews with Dr. Feist, see the “Related Articles” sidebar below.)

Q. What will it take for a higher percentage of new buildings to be built to the Passivhaus standard?


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  1. Scott Gibson

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Rival Passive House Groups Fail in Trademark Attempts

Two groups promoting Passivhaus construction, one in Germany and one in the U.S., have failed to be issued trademarks

Posted on Aug 1 2014 by Scott Gibson

The U.S. Trademark Office has dismissed an attempt by the founder of Germany's Passivhaus Institut to trademark the term "Certified Passive HouseA residential building construction standard requiring very low levels of air leakage, very high levels of insulation, and windows with a very low U-factor. Developed in the early 1990s by Bo Adamson and Wolfgang Feist, the standard is now promoted by the Passivhaus Institut in Darmstadt, Germany. To meet the standard, a home must have an infiltration rate no greater than 0.60 AC/H @ 50 pascals, a maximum annual heating energy use of 15 kWh per square meter (4,755 Btu per square foot), a maximum annual cooling energy use of 15 kWh per square meter (1.39 kWh per square foot), and maximum source energy use for all purposes of 120 kWh per square meter (11.1 kWh per square foot). The standard recommends, but does not require, a maximum design heating load of 10 W per square meter and windows with a maximum U-factor of 0.14. The Passivhaus standard was developed for buildings in central and northern Europe; efforts are underway to clarify the best techniques to achieve the standard for buildings in hot climates.."

The decision settles a legal dispute between Passive House Institute U.S. (PHIUS), an Illinois-based organization, and Dr. Wolfgang Feist, founder of the Passivhaus Institut in Darmstadt, Germany.

The two organizations were once closely aligned, but ties were severed in what became a messy public falling out in 2011.


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EnerPHit — The Passive House Approach to Deep Retrofit

Since it is much trickier to hit the Passive House standard for a retrofit project than for a new house, the Passivhaus Institut has created a retrofit standard that is ambitious but achievable

Posted on May 28 2012 by Lenny Antonelli

Reprinted with permission from Construct Ireland magazine.


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  1. All photos: Construct Ireland

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A Proposed Passivhaus Amendment for New England

Energy efficiency specialist Marc Rosenbaum suggests ways to address deficiencies in the Passivhaus standard and revise it for New England’s climate

Posted on Apr 16 2012 by Richard Defendorf

There has been no shortage of discussion lately about modifying the PassivhausA residential building construction standard requiring very low levels of air leakage, very high levels of insulation, and windows with a very low U-factor. Developed in the early 1990s by Bo Adamson and Wolfgang Feist, the standard is now promoted by the Passivhaus Institut in Darmstadt, Germany. To meet the standard, a home must have an infiltration rate no greater than 0.60 AC/H @ 50 pascals, a maximum annual heating energy use of 15 kWh per square meter (4,755 Btu per square foot), a maximum annual cooling energy use of 15 kWh per square meter (1.39 kWh per square foot), and maximum source energy use for all purposes of 120 kWh per square meter (11.1 kWh per square foot). The standard recommends, but does not require, a maximum design heating load of 10 W per square meter and windows with a maximum U-factor of 0.14. The Passivhaus standard was developed for buildings in central and northern Europe; efforts are underway to clarify the best techniques to achieve the standard for buildings in hot climates. standard to make it more adaptable to, and address more precisely, regional climate conditions.


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  1. Marc Rosenbaum

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PHIUS Tries to Trademark ‘Certified Passive House Consultant’

Also used by the Passivhaus Institut in Germany, the phrase is now being claimed as a trademark by a rival U.S. organization

Posted on Jan 26 2012 by Martin Holladay

UPDATED on 3/29/2012

On January 12, 2012, the Passive HouseA residential building construction standard requiring very low levels of air leakage, very high levels of insulation, and windows with a very low U-factor. Developed in the early 1990s by Bo Adamson and Wolfgang Feist, the standard is now promoted by the Passivhaus Institut in Darmstadt, Germany. To meet the standard, a home must have an infiltration rate no greater than 0.60 AC/H @ 50 pascals, a maximum annual heating energy use of 15 kWh per square meter (4,755 Btu per square foot), a maximum annual cooling energy use of 15 kWh per square meter (1.39 kWh per square foot), and maximum source energy use for all purposes of 120 kWh per square meter (11.1 kWh per square foot). The standard recommends, but does not require, a maximum design heating load of 10 W per square meter and windows with a maximum U-factor of 0.14. The Passivhaus standard was developed for buildings in central and northern Europe; efforts are underway to clarify the best techniques to achieve the standard for buildings in hot climates. Institute U.S. (PHIUS) filed a trademark application for the letters “CPHC,” which stand for “certified passive house consultant.”


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  1. PHI

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