Initially created in Germany in the 1990s, Passive House Standards were voluntary standards intended for the certification of highly energy efficient, single family homes. Modeled heating and cooling demands, total energy demand and air tight building envelope (as verified by a blower door test) were the three core requirements. Additionally, a maximum square footage per occupant, super-insulation and use of passive solar heating were highly recommended features of these standards.
While all of this is relevant for residential construction, the standards have evolved for application to institutional and commercial construction. Schools, hospitals and offices are now choosing Passive House Standards over other certifications both because of their rigor and greater flexibility. By establishing an energy budget, projects can achieve significant savings and greater durability (through control of moisture resulting from the elimination of thermal bridges, and adequate space ventilation).
Largest Passive House Office Building in the United States – Chicago, IL