Passive House practitioners aim to spread standard beyond single-family homes

Growth has been slow, but enticing larger firms and getting help from local governments could provide a boost.

July 31, 2017 |
Looking down onto a rooftop terrace in the city

Pixabay Public Domain

The growth of the Passive House standard in the U.S. has been slow, but it could still produce significant influence, according to a recent panel of industry experts.

That group is looking to expand the standard beyond single-family houses to projects like schools, hospitals and high-rise towers, according to a Construction Dive report. Today, there is roughly 475,000 sf of certified Passive House project square footage in the U.S., including 16 multifamily projects, seven commercial buildings, and one school, in addition to 111 single-family homes.

Passive House Institute U.S. (PHIUS) wants to expand acceptance of the standard in the commercial and institutional markets. As more buildings achieve certification, they provide proof-of-concept and data that can inform design decisions and influence new codes and regulations, and thereby create momentum for the standard.

Local governments will be able to collect the data from new Passive House buildings and help inform decision-makers in the built community about how the standard achieves results in sustainability. Optimistically, Passive House could thus have a larger influence than might be expected from just looking at the number of certifications.

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