Community: PassivHaus

PassivHaus is a standard of construction that yields extremely tight envelopes and low energy use.

The PassivHaus Institute is in Germany, but we have a branch here in North America as well, Passive House Institute US

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2 Answers

U-values of solid walls

I asked a GSHP installer how they could work out heat loss for each room without knowing the construction characteristics of the walls, roof and floors and received the following answer "our technical design team have worked out based on building regulations the required U-value’s for different properties be it a new build, renovation or boiler replacement in an existing house"

Is this a case where common sense has failed me, can they do this with any degree of accuracy or am I right to be suspicious of the results their averages produce?

Asked By George Winkle | Mar 19 15
11 Answers

What is the best sealant to use for airsealing?

I know I want seal as many air paths as possible. Is there one particular sealant that works best for things like drywall to studs, spaces between double studs, rigid foam to studs and PE film?

Asked By Donald Lintner | Jul 28 09
7 Answers

I keep seeing descriptions of Passivhaus buildings using 90% less heat

But what does this equate in in btus at peak load or kWh/yr?
I know this is a broad question thats different in every climate but i just want some numbers for context, so lets compare two code minimum houses @1000sq/ft, one in climate zone 5 with 4000HDD and the other in climate zone 6 at 5000HDD compared to two identical location passivhaus'
For the sake of argument lets say both buildings have a design temp of -25C


Can these numbers scale with size (would they double at 2000sq/ft or be half at 500 sq/ft?

Asked By Alan B | Feb 14 15
7 Answers

Euro style inswing windows & lessons learned

This is kind of an interior design question, but I am wondering what people's experience has been with these inswing windows? Specifically in living rooms and bedrooms wherein the inswing of the window can cause problems with furniture placement.

I am tempted to place windows at 36" high in living room/bedroom areas simply due to ease of furniture placement. If it's that high (and wider to compensate), it won't ever hit the back of a sofa or end table or whatever. Ditto for bedroom furniture such as a nightstand, desk, or dresser.

Any lessons learned would be appreciated.

Asked By Lisa O'Donnell | Jan 5 14
2 Answers

Hybrid heat-pump hot water heater cooling effects

We have a GE hybrid heat pump hot water heater in the non-partitioned 1100 square foot basement of our pre-certified PassivHaus home in northern NJ.

We've found that when it's operating as a heat pump, it exhausts enough cold air that it actually cools the basement significantly.

Asked By Len Moskowitz | Dec 31 14
3 Answers

Santa, Please Bring me a Balanced ERV...

We’re getting into commissioning residential heat recovery ventilation systems (balance* and optimize**) and so recently invested in a Dutch-made balometer that is really accurate*** for measuring low air flows. What was once done crudely with a Pitot tube and unglamorously with a garbage bag "should" now be able to be done quickly, simply and repeatably with more accuracy – perhaps too much - which may be part of the problem.

Generally, the procedure goes like this:

1- balance the adjustable dampers (if present) with the system at max speed

Asked By Greg Labbe | Dec 29 14
2 Answers

Additional insulation below laminated/floating floor over rigid-foam-insulated concrete slab?

I have a 4" concrete slab insulated with 4" of rigid foam (on the underside, of course). I was planning to install laminated floating floor on top of everything. As I have to install 2x2"s over the concrete in order to hold the laminated floor, a friend suggested to fill the space between the 2x2"s with insulation or, at least, dirt.

The questions are:

Asked By Jose Castro | Dec 27 14
8 Answers

How to handle SE/SW orientation? And any experiences with Richlin windows?

I'm planning a not-quite almost-passive retrofit to a 1,400 sq. ft. 1-1/2 story Cape Cod in Minneapolis (shooting for R-40 walls & R-50-80 roof). I'm looking for a US window manufacturer who can come close to European quality without the high cost, lead time and shipping impact. Oh yeah, and the windows must be standard crank-out casement as I have no interest in tilt / turn (I've used them plenty in Europe).

Asked By Ryan Griffin | Sep 30 14
0 Answers

The costs of PH consultants, rights to submit building plans

In Upstate NY plans over 1500 sqft need to be submitted by licensed architects or the proper engineer

Costs run $250 at the low end to approve already drawn plans to $5,000 and up in my work do far.

I would like to see costs discussed here and in a blog Martin along with the fact that a PH consultant is basically doing what two others are the only ones licensed to submit plans.

Archs and engineers pay dearly in expense and time for several years of education and then often some years as an underling in the appropriate office.

Asked By aj builder, Upstate NY Zone 6a | Dec 14 14
10 Answers

I'm overthinking windows again... SHGC question

So I think we're close to choosing a local window producer to furnish our windows. Richlin 500 casements offer U values as low as 0.13, very good air seal numbers, are built down the road from us with a short lead time and an economy price. The only downfall that I'm aware of is that they insist on LoE272 glazing for their triple panes. This gives them a dismal 0.22 SHGC. Since I have 36SF of summer shaded, winter exposed, south facing window, I was thinking of going with a different window on the south side.

Asked By Ryan Griffin | Dec 4 14
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