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Passive house – the next decade!
September 25, 2014

Passive house – the next decade!

Visiting the German Passive House Conference in May in Aachen in Germany was really good insight on what is happening within the passive house field. The most enjoyable presentation for me was the last presentation on the last day by Dr. Wolfgang Feist about passive house in the future!

Wolfgang Feist, as the founder of Passive House Institute, talked about passive house in accordance with a fundamental definition being tested, tried and validated to be built everywhere in the world, yet not in the extreme climatic zones.

Wolfgang Feist said: “Passive house cannot be redefined as it is based on building physic laws.”

Yet, even due to the criticism and the requirement by EU for all new buildings to be NZEBs in 2021, there are some changes in passive house branding.

The passive house will be rebranded as “Passive House Classic,” and three new certification levels will be introduced to address criticisms, EU requirements and engage a larger future market.

A new certification level as “Passive House Plus” will include fundamental definition of passive house but will also incorporate renewable energy equipment as the building strives to meet the definition of a nearly zero energy building (nZEB).

“Passive House Premium” will also keep fundamental definition of passive house but will have a renewable energy system that is large enough to aim for the goal of an energy plus building. Because achieving NZEB or energy plus status is more difficult for a multi-storey building than it is for a single-family home, certification criteria will be based on a building’s footprint rather than total floor area of a building.

Feist did not bend on softening passive house definition based on the criticism of passive house being too ambitions and wanting easier standard. Instead he offered a new lower certification described as an “Energy Conservation Building.” An Energy Conservation Building would have an annual space heating demand that is up to twice as high as that of a Passive House Classic building.

Wolfgang Feist addressed the need for a new method for calculating primary energy demand that accounts for varied nature of renewable energy systems and energy storage systems. The aim is to support a fair calculation of the environmental impacts of these systems. He showed a new primary renewable energy (PRE) factor. The idea is that the new PRE allows for a more rational way to express a building’s energy balance and climate impact.

All changes will be implemented in PHPP 9 released at the end of 2014.

See more information here (link).