What is a Passiv Haus?

July 18, 2009


The term passive house (Passivhaus in German) refers to the rigorous, voluntary, Passivhaus standard for energy efficiency in buildings. It results in ultra-low energy buildings that require little energy for space heating or cooling. The basic design principles are:

  • Super-insulation
  • Air-tightness
  • Thermal bridge free design
  • Ventilation with heat recovery

The house is basically heated by the internal gains from the inhabitants, their electrical equipment and passive solar gains. The remaining heat-load is met by a small heater but may not exceed 15 kWh/m2 and year. (this is 4.75 kBtu/sf/yr)

  1. Estimates on the number of passive houses around the world range from 15,000 to 20,000. The vast majority have been built in German-speaking countries orĀ Scandinavia. If we are able to obtain certification, our project would be the first one here in NYC (for a new building).

Or click on this link to see a NY Times article with a fine graphic which shows how a Passive House works.

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