Pushing Passive House Forward

Lead Author: Alyssa Tope

Publish date: 12.19.2012


Moving Beyond Energy Efficiency


In November of 2010, Dovetail published a report entitled “What is PassivHaus?" that introduced our readers to a sustainable housing design approach gaining momentum in the United States. In Europe the use of Passive House (referred to as PassivHaus throughout Europe) is already well established. Adoption of Passive House standards has resulted in significant energy performance improvements in residential and even some commercial properties. To date, no other green building program in existence provides energy savings to the extent possible through Passive House.*


This report addresses the current state of Passive House – progress that has been made, problems that have been encountered, and the creation of the Active House system, which has been developed in response. This report also explores the outlook for widespread movement toward highly energy efficient structures, as well as existing obstacles to substantial change in construction practices.


*The “Emerald” rating within the ICC 700 National Green Building Standard requires energy efficiencies that are 60% better than code (http://www.nahbgreen.org/NGBS/default.aspx). Passive House construction yields a 70-90% energy improvement.