New Categories for Certification of Passive House Buildings

An exciting new era is beginning with the addition of renewable energy requirements into the Passive House Standards. The Passive House Institute has added two new categories for building certification, with specified requirements and guidelines to help builders and renovators produce more sustainable buildings. The established certification criteria will be known as Passive House Classic, while the new categories will be Passive House Plus and Passive House Premium.

Focus on Renewable Energy

General Passive House requirements specify that heat energy consumption may not exceed 15 kWh/(m²a). This standard will continue to be used, but the overall renewable primary energy demand (also known as PER) will be used to quantify energy consumption instead of the formerly used primary energy demand. Each of the Passive House Categories will have a specific standard for overall PER.

New Category Requirements

Buildings certified under the Passive House Classic guidelines will not be allowed to consume more than 60 kWh/(m²a) of renewable energy. To be certified under the Passive House Plus guidelines, buildings must consume less than 45 kWh/(m²a) and must generate at least 60 kWh/(m²a) of energy. Passive House Premium standards are even more stringent, with houses only being allowed to use 30 kWh/(m²a) and being required to generate at least 120 kWh/(m²a) of energy.

Heating Energy and Passive Houses

Over one-third of the energy consumed in developed countries is used to operate buildings, with much of that energy being used to generate heat. Certified Passive Houses use up to 90 percent less energy to meet heating demands, using HRVs to effectively recycle heat instead of expelling it from the home during the ventilation process. The remaining heating energy needs can be met in a sustainable way.

International Passive House Conference 2015

The International Passive House Conference was held on April 17 and 18 in Leipzig (Germany) where the new categories for certification of Passive House Buildings were discussed in some detail. Dr. Benjamin Krick spoke about what changes would need to be made to existing buildings in order to meet the standards for the new Passive House categories, displaying exact calculations. Jessica Grove-Smith explained how the PER factors were developed. The new categories for Passive House certification are expected to be helpful in achieving the Nearly Zero-Energy Building stipulation that will come into effect as of 2021, as set in the European Buildings Directive.