Passive House Video — Episode 1

Watch “Passive House Design,” the first episode in a 5-part video series on the theory, design, and construction of a Passive House.

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Produced by: Colin Russell and Justin Fink

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To watch the complete Passive House series and read the companion Fine Homebuilding articles, click here to join GBA Prime. Then, join the conversation with Architect Steve Baczek in the comments at the bottom of this page.

THE PASSIVE HOUSEA residential building construction standard requiring very low levels of air leakage, very high levels of insulation, and windows with a very low U-factor. Developed in the early 1990s by Bo Adamson and Wolfgang Feist, the standard is now promoted by the Passivhaus Institut in Darmstadt, Germany. To meet the standard, a home must have an infiltration rate no greater than 0.60 AC/H @ 50 pascals, a maximum annual heating energy use of 15 kWh per square meter (4,755 Btu per square foot), a maximum annual cooling energy use of 15 kWh per square meter (1.39 kWh per square foot), and maximum source energy use for all purposes of 120 kWh per square meter (11.1 kWh per square foot). The standard recommends, but does not require, a maximum design heating load of 10 W per square meter and windows with a maximum U-factor of 0.14. The Passivhaus standard was developed for buildings in central and northern Europe; efforts are underway to clarify the best techniques to achieve the standard for buildings in hot climates. SERIES

Built to meet the world’s most rigorous standard for energy-efficient construction, a Passive House uses about one-tenth as much heating energy as a similarly sized older home. This feat is accomplished by carefully harmonizing countless design and construction details. At the time of this writing, just 71 houses have earned the Passive House Institute U.S. (PHIUS) certification. Architect Steve Baczek is responsible for designing a handful of them.

Episode 1: Designed for Success
One architect’s approach to designing a house to meet the country’s most stringent energy requirement

Read the article      (Watch video above)

Episode 2: Air-sealed Mudsill Assembly
You only have one chance to get this critical detail perfect

Read the article                Watch the video

Episode 3: Superinsulated Slab
If you aren’t insulating the edge, you’re only doing half the job

Read the article                Watch the video

Episode 4: Framing for Efficiency
Double-stud walls and trusses create the ideal shell for an economical and efficient building

Read the article                Watch the video

Episode 5: Installing High-Performance Windows
By far the weakest link in a Passive House, windows must be installed perfectly

Read the article               Watch the video

Tags: , , ,
Jan 7, 2014 7:02 PM ET

Response to Antonio Bettencourt
by Martin Holladay

You might want to start by reading this article: All About Thermal Mass.

Jan 7, 2014 5:57 PM ET

by Elisabeth McCoy

Looking very forward to watching this series & reading the articles in Fine Homebuilding. Would greatly appreciate building material lists & manufacturers for such items as the windows, doors, heating cooling systems, etc.-most of us will most likely be rebuilding existing homes. Here, in northcentral PA, we don't have as many material choices/suppliers as metropolitan areas, nor are double studded walls even discussed, yet we/our contractor has built them into our last 2 residential rebuilds & the insulating/sound damping results have been very good. Thank you F.H.B. & G.B.A.-you're information is even getting out here & is being implemented! Now we just need 21st century materials to reach our area & at a reasonable cost! Looking forward to your materials list & future updates, deeply appreciated.

Nov 12, 2013 6:46 AM ET

Response to Antonio Bettencourt
by Martin Holladay

Q. "How does the added mass of masonry walls affect the building performance?"

A. For a thorough answer to your question, see All About Thermal Mass.

Nov 12, 2013 5:13 AM ET

Edited Nov 12, 2013 5:15 AM ET.

Masonry walls
by Antonio Bettencourt

This looks like it will be an interesting series and I expect to learn plenty.
There seem to be a fair number of resources for how to improve our wood framing practices. I'm wondering about masonry wall design though. How does the added mass of masonry walls affect the building performance? I'm curious to learn more about both concrete block walls (insulated on the inside vs. the outside) and aerated autoclaved walls. Also, what are the best ways to handle wall openings.
Do any of my fellow readers know of good resources for the above subjects?

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