What Is Passive House Design?

Principles of Passive House


Solar Orientation

Each Passive home built utilizes site specific annual weather data in orienting the home for maximum solar heat gain in Winter and solar shading in Summer.


Wall assemblies are designed to be air tight and have high insulation values to keep the conditioned air from leaking. But, beyond air movement, Passive home wall, roof, and foundation assemblies are designed to manage moisture levels for building longevity and durability.

High Performance Windows

Windows and doors are often the area in which we feel the most draft and are the weakest link in energy efficiency.  Passive design specifies super high performance windows that must meet strict standards for component insulation, air tightness installation, and solar heat gain values.

Balanced Ventilation & Heat Recovery

Passive House mechanics include an energy recovery ventilator or the “lungs” of the house, that provides a constant supply of tempered, filtered, fresh air 24/7 and saves money by recycling the indoor energy.  The heat from outgoing stale air is transferred to the unconditioned incoming fresh air.  Filtering adds an extra layer of comfort, particularly for those with allergies.

Benefits of Passive house includes:

  • Better indoor air quality
  • Increased thermal comfort
  • Superior sound insulation
  • Highest level of energy efficiency
  • Reduced energy bills
  • Reduce carbon footprint

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Our Process

Initial Consultation

 At the initial consultation we’ll go over the general layout and design of your home as well as discuss your build budget. We’ll look over the lot and it’s orientation to gather information on how to best position the home for maximum solar gain in the winter and shading during the summer months. We’ll educate you on the Passive House principles and how it will apply to your home.  We’ll listen to your wants and needs so that we can create a schematic design that meets your needs, wants and budget. 

Phase 1 - Schematic Design

 After our initial consultation, we’ll draw a schematic design with floor plans and front and rear elevations .  This is the phase in which we take the information we discussed in the initial presentation and begin to create the home that meets your aesthetic as well as practical wants/needs.  Design emphasis will be placed on achieving your space needs, overall budgetary requirements, Passive House design requirements and aesthetics 

phase 2 - Bid Documents

 Once you approve the initial schematic design, we will begin with more detailed plans.  The goal of the bid documents is to provide enough information to generate a realistic estimate of the project. Documents and design criteria can still be revised at this point to address budget issues.  Preliminary solar shading analysis will be completed by Consultant. Site specific conditions (such as grading conditions, septic designs, and approximate residence location on site) will be completed and may involve the use of third party consultants. 

phase 3 - construction documents

  At this phase we finalize bid documents into full permit and construction drawings as well as apply for Passive House pre-certification. Emphasis will be placed on materials, methods and construction details.   We will assist you in the selection of items such as appliances, HVAC, ERV and domestic hot water heater, Solar P.V and more. 

phase 4 construction administration

 After final permits are acquired and construction commences, we will assist you and the builder (when neccesary) with the construction process.  Emphasis will be placed on your wants/needs and budget during the construction process, educating the builder and contractors as neccesary for quality control .  Phase 4 includes site visits during key phases of construction to ensure contractor is building according to the building plans, specifications, PHIUS criteria and municipal code criteria.   We will also coordinate with the third party rater to ensure PHIUS standards are met.