Passive House video — Episode 1

Watch “Passive House Design,” the first episode in a series of videos on the theory, design, and construction of a Passive House in ­Falmouth, Mass.

Watch the video

Produced by: Colin Russell and Justin Fink

Built to meet the world’s most rigorous standard for energy-efficient construction, 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. 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.

Watch the video above; read the companion Fine Homebuilding article at right; and then join the conversation with the designer of this house, Architect Steve Baczek.

Over the course of the next several months — as each new issue of Fine Homebuilding magazine is released — this collection of articles and videos will cover:

Passive House design
Airtight-mudsill assemblies
Superinsulated slab
• Double-stud walls and insulation
• Windows and doors

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Tue, 01/07/2014 - 19:02

Response to Antonio Bettencourt
by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor

You might want to start by reading this article: All About Thermal Mass.

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 17:57

by Elisabeth McCoy

Looking very forward to watching this series & reading the articles in Fine Homebuilding. Would greatly appreciate building material lists & manufacturers for such items as the windows, doors, heating cooling systems, etc.-most of us will most likely be rebuilding existing homes. Here, in northcentral PA, we don't have as many material choices/suppliers as metropolitan areas, nor are double studded walls even discussed, yet we/our contractor has built them into our last 2 residential rebuilds & the insulating/sound damping results have been very good. Thank you F.H.B. & G.B.A.-you're information is even getting out here & is being implemented! Now we just need 21st century materials to reach our area & at a reasonable cost! Looking forward to your materials list & future updates, deeply appreciated.

Tue, 11/12/2013 - 06:46

Response to Antonio Bettencourt
by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor

Q. "How does the added mass of masonry walls affect the building performance?"

A. For a thorough answer to your question, see All About Thermal Mass.

Tue, 11/12/2013 - 05:13

Edited Tue, 11/12/2013 - 05:15.

Masonry walls
by Antonio Bettencourt

This looks like it will be an interesting series and I expect to learn plenty.
There seem to be a fair number of resources for how to improve our wood framing practices. I'm wondering about masonry wall design though. How does the added mass of masonry walls affect the building performance? I'm curious to learn more about both concrete block walls (insulated on the inside vs. the outside) and aerated autoclaved walls. Also, what are the best ways to handle wall openings.
Do any of my fellow readers know of good resources for the above subjects?

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