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If you’ve never heard of Passive House, they’re what normal houses ought to be if built properly with different components of the building cleverly collaborating together to serve their purpose - the byproduct of this is a comfortable and energy-efficient home. The Passive House Institute in Germany started the movement with an academic research project meant to find the optimal level of efficiency for a building. Today, the institute is still used for building science research to create advanced building quality and performance, and Passive House buildings can be found all over the world.

Our team at Gilbert + Burke designs and builds certified Passive House homes that follow the International Passive House Association standards. By using less energy, your carbon footprint is reduced, and so are your energy bills!

 

There are various levels of Passive House qualifications, and all focus on eco-friendly building and living standards.

3 classes of Passive House Standard buildings 

The three levels of Passive House buildings represent varying levels of building code that must be adhered to in order to be labelled under each classification. Passive House buildings have been gaining momentum in Canada, with more than 2,000 Passive Houses having been built across Canada so far, which is a number that’s steadily growing. These are the three classes of Passive Houses.

  • Passive House Premium: This limits primary energy use to the furthest extent and requires the most renewable generation of energy.
  • Passive House Plus: This lowers primary energy consumption to a certain extent and requires some renewable energy generation.
  • Passive House Classic: This focuses mainly on energy-efficient features by using time-tested quality and performance metrics.

blue barn house with solar energy panels covering the roof

Why is building a Passive House a good idea?

This program has been so powerful for eco-friendly builders and supporters of energy efficient living. “Building it right” is more than just a priority with Passive Houses; it’s the cornerstone of the building standard. The Architecture 2030 Advancing Net Zero project, net zero will become a standard practice for new home construction by 2030.


In Passive House building, air tightness is absolutely mandatory, strictly controlled, and tested throughout the building process. Each technical team member (carpenter, plumber, electrician, HVAC installer) plays an important roll in adhering to the prescribed strict performance requirements. There are even trades-person education courses offered through Passive House.

 

Impressive algorithms determine the energy balance of cooling, heating, humidity and primary energy to significantly reduce the energy footprint and in turn the cost of utilities . Passive House buildings have a proven track record and fit into Canada’s climate very well. Buildings constructed under the Passive House designation can use up to 90 percent less energy than regular buildings.

 

The Passive House Standard requires:

  • The building must be designed to have an annual heating and cooling demand as calculated with Passivhaus Planning Packing of not more than 15kWh/m2 (4755 BTU/sq ft, 5.017 MJ/sq ft) per year in heating or cooling energy OR be designed with a peak heat load of 10 W/m2 (1.2hp/1000sqft), based on local data.
  • Total primary energy consumption (heating, hot water, electricity) must not be more than 60kWH/m2 (19020 BTU/sqft) per year.
  • The building must not leak more air than 0.6 times the house volume per hour (n50 _< 0.6 /Hour) at 50 PA (0.0073 psi) as tested by a blower door. Or alternatively, when locked at the surface area of the enclosure, the leakage rate must be less than 0.05 cubic feet per minute.

Homeowners can rest assured they’re saving energy and money

Indoor air quality and temperature are easy to control and navigate, thanks to the modern systems employed by Passive House homes. These automated user friendly systems can be fully integrated with a smart home system to further serve your needs and comfort. Energy efficiency and air quality will never be effected by changing seasons or adverse weather.

 

Energy and utility costs will significantly reduce and stay at a more affordable level, the initial investment associated with Passive House construction will be offset by the benefits of comfort and energy savings over time. Homeowners can feel assured that they are drastically cutting their energy consumption with reduced energy homes, leaving a smaller carbon footprint in their wake and helping the earth be more sustainable.


For more information on our experience at Gilbert + Burke with designing and building net zero energy homes that fit the Passive House standards, get connected with our team of design and build pros today at 705-328-9431. We would be thrilled to walk you through more of the benefits of choosing an energy efficient, high-performance Passive House for you and your family.

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