Superior energy efficiency in buildings
The Passive House Institute (PHI) is an independent research institute founded 1996 by Dr Wolfgang Feist with a continuously growing interdisciplinary team of employees. PHI has played an especially crucial role in the development of the Passive House concept. The first pilot project ( Kranichstein Passive House, Darmstadt, Germany, 1990) was Europe’s first inhabited multi-family house to achieve a documented heating energy consumption of below 10 kWh/(m²a), a consumption level confirmed through years of detailed monitoring.
Since then, the Passive House Institute has assumed a leading position with regard to research on and development of construction concepts, building components, planning tools and quality assurance for especially energy efficient buildings. PHI has been responsible for the building physics related consultancy and technical guidance on a number of firsts including the first Passive House office building, the first Passive House factory, the first Passive House schools and gymnasiums, the first Passive House indoor pool halls and the first Passive House retrofits. The Institute is currently providing such expertise for numerous new, innovative projects.
The annual International Passive House Conference as well as the sessions of the Research Group for Cost-effective Passive Houses are also carried out by the Passive House Institute. The Research Group sessions have given rise to numerous Passive House building projects through Germany and beyond; the practice oriented proceedings of these sessions are available through the Passive House Institute. The annual International Passive House Conferences, in turn, serve as a global platform for scientists, architects, engineers and product developers in the field of energy efficient construction and refurbishment ( www.passivehouse-conference.org).
The Passive House Institute is constantly developing and improving upon algorithms and software tools for dynamic building simulations, the determination of energy balances and the planning of Passive House buildings (for example, through the Passive House Planning Package). The Institute acts as an independent testing and certification centre for buildings and building components such as wall and construction systems, windows, doors, connections, ventilation systems and compact systems. PHI research staff also provide manufacturers of energy efficient components with in-depth consultancy on product development and optimisation. PHI further facilitates the upholding of the strict quality requirements set by the Passive House Standard through the professional certifications it offers worldwide.
The Passive House Institute makes its knowledge available to everyone. Its research, its certification and training programmes, as well as the distribution of its planning tools such as the Passive House Planning Package (PHPP) and designPH can thus not be claimed as a monopoly by any single local entity. The Passive House Institute does not enter into exclusive contracts. It is happy to co-operate with suitable partners at any time, provided all necessary conditions and requirements are met. You are welcome to contact the Passive House Institute directly with any questions regarding partnerships, the certification of professionals, buildings, or building components, as well as all relevant consultancy services.
About Passive House - What is a Passive House?
Passive House is a building standard that is truly energy-efficient, comfortable and affordable at the same time. Passive House is not a brand name, but a tried and true construction concept that can be applied by anyone, anywhere.
Yet, a Passive House is more than just a low-energy building:
- Passive Houses allow for space heating and cooling related energy savings of up to 90% compared with typical building stock and over 75% compared to average new builds. Passive Houses use less than 1.5 l of oil or 1.5 m3 of gas to heat one square meter of living space for a year – substantially less than common “low-energy” buildings. Vast energy savings have been demonstrated in warm climates where typical buildings also require active cooling.
- Passive Houses make efficient use of the sun, internal heat sources and heat recovery, rendering conventional heating systems unnecessary throughout even the coldest of winters. During warmer months, Passive Houses make use of passive cooling techniques such as strategic shading to keep comfortably cool.
- Passive Houses are praised for the high level of comfort they offer. Internal surface temperatures vary little from indoor air temperatures, even in the face of extreme outdoor temperatures. Special windows and a building envelope consisting of a highly insulated roof and floor slab as well as highly insulated exterior walls keep the desired warmth in the house – or undesirable heat out.
- A ventilation system imperceptibly supplies constant fresh air, making for superior air quality without unpleasant draughts. A highly efficient heat recovery unit allows for the heat contained in the exhaust air to be re-used.