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  • Carol Mckee

Not Always Simple

In a typical new construction project, the bar to get over is simply to meet the current building code. This is a relatively low bar to get over. It is designed around mostly around safety with some minor energy efficiency aspects. But mostly building code is about having a safe building. It is a minimum standard that many builders struggle to even get over that low bar (shocking but true).

The Passive House concept is not simply about a building that is engineered and designed for extreme efficiency and durability. It is also about verifying these concepts in the field while a building is being constructed. Making sure that the project is actually built to the passive house standard ensuring that the efficiency of the house matches what was designed. This is a very unique aspect of building a passive house and one that many "typical" contractors would struggle to understand let alone execute. This is simply not the way that most projects are done today.

With a Passive House build, be it a commercial or residential property, there are four main players in the development and design of the building. It starts with taking it from an idea, all the way through actually building that concept out. And certification is present in all of the steps to ensure that the project meets the strict Passive House guidelines. There is an architect that is required to be Passive House certified. There is the energy modeling that needs to be done to make sure the design meets the Passive House standards and must be modeled by a Passive House certified individual. The general contractor that needs to build everything to Passive House standards, and best practice would be that the GC is Passive House certified. Finally there is the Rater, who field verifies different aspects of the build, and does the blower door testing to verify the integrity of the envelope.

A Passive House build is not a simple one and that is be design. To have a building that meets the strict Passive House there is much more involved than on a typical build. And of course that is why the final product is so superior in it's efficiency.

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