At Construction Management Group, we are excited to be at the forefront of the Passive House movement.  Passive Housing is the gold standard of energy efficient building and requires virtually no energy use for heating or cooling.  The first Passive Homes were built in Germany and Austria 25 years ago and the concept is quickly making its way here to the United States.  The key components to building a passive house are: 

  • Air tight construction
  • Robust exterior insulation on all sides
  • Efficient  whole-house ventilation system
  • Thermal-bridge-free construction
  • High efficiency windows

We truly feel this exciting advancement in residential and commercial construction is poised for explosive growth over the next decade.  Our firm is well equipped and educated to be your top choice for Passive House construction and can partner with you throughout the entire process from design to final build.  

Thermal insulation

All opaque building components of the exterior envelope of the house must be very well-insulated. For most cool-termperate climates, this means a heat transfer coefficient (U-value) of 0.15 W/(m²K) at the most, i.e. a maximum of 0.15 watts per degree of temperature difference and per square metre of exterior surface are lost.

Seeing is believing; Blue is Beautiful!

Classic iconic image of the thermography done of a New York Brownstone in the late evening on a cold winter day.  The clear identifier of wasted energy is shown in yellow and red depicting heat loss.  The middle Brownstone depicted with a blue thermographic image is what we like to see because it comparatively demonstrates a drastic reduction in heat loss and substantial energy savings.  

Passive House windows

Ponus Ridge Passive House Cliffside (For Sale)
Ponus Ridge Passive House Cliffside (For Sale)

Passive House windows

The window frames must be well insulated and fitted with low-e glazings filled with argon or krypton to prevent heat transfer. For most cool-termperate climates, this means a U-value of 0.80 W/(m²K) or less, with g-values around 50% (g-value= total solar transmittance, proportion of the solar energy available for the room)

The window frames must be well insulated and fitted with low-e glazings filled with argon or krypton to prevent heat transfer. For most cool-termperate climates, this means a U-value of 0.80 W/(m²K) or less, with g-values around 50% (g-value= total solar transmittance, proportion of the solar energy available for the room).

Ventilation heat recovery

Efficient heat recovery ventilation is key, allowing for a good indoor air quality and saving energy. In Passive House, at least 75% of the heat from the exhaust air is transferred to the fresh air again by means of a heat exchanger.

Air-tight Construction

Uncontrolled leakage through any gaps, holes, etc. that may exist must not contribute to any more than 0.6 air changes of the total air volume per hour that passes through the building at 50 Pascal of pressurization and depressurization of the building envelope.  This is tested with an industry blower door test.  This is significantly more efficient than the current Northeast United States building code requirements.   The current building code in the Northeast requires ≤3.0 air changes per hour.  In some parts of the United States, the code is ≤ 5.0 air changes per hour.  The Passive House air-tightness envelope standard is 5-8 times better than conventional construction!

Robust Exterior Insulation

Airtightness of the building

Uncontrolled leakage through gaps must be smaller than 0.6 of the total house volume per hour during a pressure test at 50 Pascal (both pressurised and depressurised).

Absence of thermal bridges

All edges, corners, connections and penetrations must be planned and executed with great care, so that thermal bridges can be avoided. Thermal bridges which cannot be avoided must be minimised as far as possible.

The Standard:   Passive House requirements For a building to be considered a Passive House, it must meet the following criteria ( for detailed criteria, please see the building certification section):
  1. The Space Heating Energy Demand is not to exceed 15 kWh per square meter of net living space (treated floor area) per year or 10 W per square meter peak demand. In climates where active cooling is needed, the Space Cooling Energy Demand requirement roughly matches the heat demand requirements above, with a slight additional allowance for dehumidification.
  2. The Primary Energy Demand, the total energy to be used for all domestic applications (heating, hot water and domestic electricity) must not exceed 120 kWh per square meter of treated floor area per year.
  3. In terms of Airtightness, a maximum of 0.6 air changes per hour at 50 Pascals pressure (ACH50), as verified with an onsite pressure test (in both pressurized and depressurized states).
  4. Thermal comfort must be met for all living areas during winter as well as in summer, with not more than 10 % of the hours in a given year over 25 °C. For a complete overview of general quality requirements (soft criteria) see Passipedia.
Passive House buildings are planned, optimised and verified with the Passive House Planning Package (PHPP). All of the above criteria are achieved through intelligent design and implementation of the 5 Passive House principles: thermal bridge free design, superior windows, ventilation with heat recovery, quality insulation and airtight construction.   The following basic principles apply for the construction of Passive Houses:

Absence of thermal bridges

All edges, corners, connections and penetrations must be planned and executed with great care, so that thermal bridges can be avoided. Thermal bridges which cannot be avoided must be minimised as far as possible.

Thermal insulation 
All opaque building components of the exterior envelope of the house must be very well-insulated. For most cool-termperate climates, this means a heat transfer coefficient (U-value) of 0.15 W/(m²K) at the most, i.e. a maximum of 0.15 watts per degree of temperature difference and per square metre of exterior surface are lost.

Passive House windows 
The window frames must be well insulated and fitted with low-e glazings filled with argon or krypton to prevent heat transfer. For most cool-termperate climates, this means a U-value of 0.80 W/(m²K) or less, with g-values around 50% (g-value= total solar transmittance, proportion of the solar energy available for the room).

Ventilation heat recovery 
Efficient heat recovery ventilation is key, allowing for a good indoor air quality and saving energy. In Passive House, at least 75% of the heat from the exhaust air is transferred to the fresh air again by means of a heat exchanger.

Airtightness of the building 
Uncontrolled leakage through gaps must be smaller than 0.6 of the total house volume per hour during a pressure test at 50 Pascal (both pressurised and depressurised).

Absence of thermal bridges 
All edges, corners, connections and penetrations must be planned and executed with great care, so that thermal bridges can be avoided. Thermal bridges which cannot be avoided must be minimised as far as possible.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.

Scroll to Top