Passive House Growth: A Look at Its Origins and Evolution
We are always on the lookout for ways to do things more efficiently; this is how the passive house growth happened. It started with the need to make buildings as efficient as possible to reduce carbon emissions and oil consumption. Here’s a closer look at the building standard’s origins and evolution.
History of Passive House Growth
German physicist Dr. Wolfgang Feist and Swedish scientist Dr. Bo Adamson are the pioneers of developing passive house (Passivhaus) in 1988. Together, they worked to create a performance standard for developers and engineers to strive towards when designing or updating buildings.
Pertaining to design, passive house buildings contain five elements. This includes:
- Thermal insulation
- Ventilation with heat recovery
- Passive house windows
- Air tightness
- Thermal bridge free design
Altogether, these design elements work to create a comfortable environment that uses minimal energy. The first home to use all these design elements was in Darmstadt, Germany, which ended up being the headquarters for passive house thanks to Dr. Feist.
To obtain certification, a building must pass all passive house standards. According to the International Passive House Association, they are:
- Space heating/cooling: cannot exceed 15 kWh annually or 10W during peak demand per square meter of living space
- Energy demand: accounting for energy use for heating, water heating, cooling, and electricity, a building cannot exceed 120 kWh annually per square meter of living space
- Air tightness: using an onsite pressure test, the building cannot exceed 0.6 air changes per hour at 50 Pascals pressure
- Thermal comfort: the building must produce optimum comfort all year round without exceeding 25 degrees Celsius more than 10 percent of the time.
The Evolution of Passive House Growth
When conducting research for the passive house growth, German scientists examined buildings made in the United States and Canada. This was during the time of the OPEC oil embargo, forcing engineers to create buildings that consumed less oil.
Therefore, along with Germany, the United States was one of the first countries to inadvertently adopt passive house measures, though it took until much later before there was wide-scale construction.
After the foundation of the movement in 1996, the Economical Passive House Working Group was the catalyst in creating elements like high-efficiency ventilation systems which you see in passive houses today.
From here, passive house growth rose dramatically with countries all across the world from the United States to China to Sweden adopting these measures. The Passive House database lists 4,364 buildings to earn certification so far, with European countries leading the way with the most development.
Take a Step Closer to Passive House Certification
Getting in on the passive house growth is easier than you think. Simple improvements such as replacing your windows with our Global 86 passive-house certified windows is an excellent start. Our windows feature a center seal and optimum thermo-modules to help achieve superior insulation for your home. The result is an environment that’s more comfortable and uses less energy. To learn more about our passive-house certified windows, contact us today!