Passive House

The world’s leading standard in energy-efficient construction.

A proven model that we can and must follow to create buildings that do no harm.


Up to 90 Percent Less Heating and Cooling Energy

Passive House (Passivhaus) is a rigorous, voluntary standard for energy efficiency in a building, which significantly reduces the building’s ecological footprint. Passive House buildings consume up to 90 percent less heating and cooling energy than conventional buildings. The Passive House high-performance building standard is applicable to almost any building type or design. It is not particular to reduced fuel source nor emissions specifically. It is an internationally recognized, proven, science-based energy standard in construction. Certification ensures that designers and consultants are expertly qualified to design buildings to meet the standard.


Rigorous Standards

The international Passive House Standard according to Passive House Canada requires:

  • Space heat demand max. 15 kWh/m2a OR heating load max. 10 W/m2
  • Pressurization test result at 50 Pa max. 0.6 ACH (both over-pressure and under-pressure)
  • Total Primary Energy Demand max. 120 kWh/m2a

*All heating and cooling calculations are based on the net usable floor area of the building. If cooling (air conditioning) is required, the annual cooling energy demand must also not exceed 15 kWh/m2.


Key Strategies

Key strategies required to meet Passive House certification include:

  • Highly insulated roofs, with a combination of terraces, intensive vegetation, and integrated photovoltaic systems. Buffered glass-dual façade for office uses, approximately 50% vision glass.
  • Careful consideration of the performance of all building assemblies. For example, thermal bridging can be reduced through careful detailing of critical interfaces, and triple-glazed windows can be used throughout.
  • Comprehensive air barrier systems minimize infiltration through building enclosures.
  • High efficiency air to air or air to water heat pump.
  • Energy transfer between different space uses.
  • Geo-exchange.
  • Passive cooling through the use of natural ventilation.
  • Heat recovery from waste heat sources such as grocery, commercial kitchen exhaust, shower drains.
  • Heat recovery ventilators (HRVs) with high efficiency recovery cores (85%+) to support mechanical ventilation.

Over the past two decades, tens of thousands of Passive Houses have been built. Learn more at: