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The term Passivhaus, or Passive House, refers to an ultra-efficient construction standard that promotes energy efficiency, comfort and the sustainability of buildings. Developed more than 30 years ago in Germany by the Passivhaus Institut (PHI), the standard allows, among other things, energy, heating and air conditioning savings of around 80% compared to standard construction. In Europe, several countries have adopted the standard and have already incorporated it into local building codes. Several states (including Massachusetts) are beginning to adopt the standard as part of the building code. The basic principles of the standard are simple: a very airtight and well insulated envelope, an air exchanger with efficient heat recovery and a design favoring the natural heating of the building, with windows providing more heat than they don't lose.
The Passive House standard is a performance standard that dictates precise criteria, but architects are free to meet these requirements in their own way. This flexibility has the advantage of pushing architects to find the best ways to build and advance building science. Sticking today to the minimum construction techniques permitted by the Building Code is non feasible to achieve a low carbon future. In a context where climate change is being felt a little more each year, architects and builders must do their part and learn how to build better. For a client, choosing to build a passive house means making a responsible choice to reduce its ecological footprint and participate in changing mentalities, one building at a time.
A house built according to the Passivhaus standard is a comfortable house all year round, without great temperature variation and with exceptional and constant indoor air quality. It is also a resilient construction since it mainly uses the energy directly available in the environment for heating. Although a passive house is still connected to the electrical distribution network, the step to make it perfectly autonomous can be very easy. The Passivhaus standard applies to all types of building, commercial or residential, and can also be adapted to major renovation projects.
We have given ourselves the challenge of promoting the Passive House standard, without reducing our architectural quality. We are convinced that a building can be both aesthetic, in harmony with its environment and extremely efficient. If this type of construction interests you, our team is available to advise you. Our Principle and Founder Matt Mueller is a Certified Passive House Consultant (CPHC) and will be able to guide you through all the stages of such a project and answer your questions concerning the different standards, the costs of construction and the undoubted advantages of such a building.
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