by Paula Hugens, eZED Ltd | 23 July 2014

Certified Passive House or Passivhaus

The term refers to a rigorous voluntary standard for energy efficiency in a building and should not be confused with passive solar design. It enables buildings to be truly energy efficient and comfortable. The first Passivhaus project was constructed in Darmstadt Germany in 1990 and consisted of four row houses. Estimates indicate there are over 50,000 projects all around the world from Canada to Chile and beyond. just under 10,000 are fully certified. There are four in New Zealand with many more still in planning or construction stages. Refer to our projects section for some examples.


Features include super insulation, advanced window technology, airtight building envelope and mechanical heat recovery ventilation.

The Passivhaus standard requires the building to meet the following criteria:

The annual Heating (or cooling) Demand must be less than 15kWh/m² per annum or the Heat Load must be less than 10 W/m².
The total Primary Energy Demand (source energy) must be less than 120kWh/m² per annum.
The building must has an airtightness less than 0.6 air changes per hour at 50Pa pressure differential (n50≤0.6 ach) tested using a blower door machine.

 Passivhaus buildings have been proven to work through rigorous modelling, testing and monitoring. Quality assurance is an important factor, thus Passivhaus requires independent third party certification which is administered by the Passivhaus Institut in Germany.

You can read more about Passive House in this brochure prepared by the International Passive House Association.


Aufkrisch Montessori School, 2008


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