GBA Pro Preview: Passive House Build
Watch “Passive House Design,” the first episode in a 5-part video series on the theory, design, and construction of a Passive House.
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Watch the video
Produced by: Colin Russell and Justin Fink
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. SERIES
Built to meet the world’s most rigorous standard for energy-efficient construction, a Passive House uses about one-tenth as much heating energy as a similarly sized older home. This feat is accomplished by carefully harmonizing countless design and construction details. At the time of this writing, just 71 houses have earned the Passive House Institute U.S. (PHIUS) certification. Architect Steve Baczek is responsible for designing a handful of them.
Episode 1: Designed for Success
One architect’s approach to designing a house to meet the country’s most stringent energy requirement
Read the article (Watch video above)
Episode 2: Air-sealed Mudsill Assembly
You only have one chance to get this critical detail perfect
Episode 3: Superinsulated Slab
If you aren’t insulating the edge, you’re only doing half the job
Episode 4: Framing for Efficiency
Double-stud walls and trusses create the ideal shell for an economical and efficient building
Episode 5: Installing High-Performance Windows
By far the weakest link in a Passive House, windows must be installed perfectly
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