One of the presentations I attended at the Passive House conference in Portland, Maine, on September 22, 2014 was a session called “Passive House certifiers’ roundtable.” The first speaker on the panel, Tomas O’Leary, explained that he usually charges about $2,200 to certify a residential Passivhaus project. He warned the audience that certification is “quite an effort; don’t underestimate it.”
Tomas advised that anyone interested in certifying their Passivhaus should remember the following important steps:
Is each one of these details really essential for determining whether a house can be certified as a Passivhaus? Absolutely.
If you are in any doubt about this issue, remember that one of the cited causes of the famous divorce between the Passivhaus Institut in Germany and Passive House Institute U.S. was a dispute over the details of the certification documents for a house in Canada. The dispute centered on two points: whether the efficiency calculations for a Canadian HRV met the strict efficiency calculation requirements specified by the German institute; and whether an evergreen tree was tall enough to invalidate the shading calculations entered into PHPP.
I admire energy nerds who use THERM modeling for all kinds of complicated building assemblies. I really do. We can learn a lot from THERM modeling calculations.
I’m grateful that someone has made the calculations to determine that in-betweenie windows perform slightly better than outie windows. Now we know.
I’m also grateful that Stephen Thwaites and Bronwyn Barry are available to explain the subtle differences between the way window U-factors are calculated in Europe and the way they are calculated in North America.
But when I hear lengthy discussions on these issues, I sometimes think we’ve fallen down the rabbit hole. If you are a builder or a designer rather than a building scientist, it may…