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What is Passive House?

Buildings that meet the Passive House standard use 80% less energy than conventional buildings. A Passive House conserves energy by creating a virtually air-tight, super insulated, compact building envelope that uses the sun and internal gains to achieve space conditioning. A heat recovery ventilator (HRV) is used to condition extract air and provide superior indoor air quality. A Passive House can achieve Zero Energy Building (ZEB) standard with the use of a small renewable energy system.

Achieving The Passive House Standard Video
Optimizing Passive House For North America Video

Benefits of a Passive House

Extremely Low Energy Use
Up to 90% less heating/cooling energy use, 60-80% overall energy savings.

High Quality Indoor Air
Controlled ventilation for a continuous, consistent supply of filtered fresh air.

Comfortable Indoor Temperatures
Passive House buildings are designed to easily maintain a steady, comfortable temperature without irritating temperature swings common in drafty buildings.

Operational and Construction Savings
The durable and tight building shell reduces maintenance over the life of the building while vastly reducing energy bills and allows for the elimination of a conventional HVAC system. With the greatly reduced energy requirements, the Passive House approach is the best start to achieve a net-zero energy building.

Proven Sustainability
Certified Passive House buildings have been constructed in the United States from Minnesota to Louisiana, from Maine to California. Globally, more than 20,000+ buildings have been constructed using Passive House principles, some zero and even net-positive energy buildings. In fact, the standard is so beneficial; many European countries have already or are in process of adopting it in their building codes.

Helping the Earth
With buildings contributing as much 47 percent of all greenhouse gases, Passive Houses are exponentially friendlier to the environment because of their minimal energy and fossil fuel consumption. They also consider the C02 contributions to global warming and embodied energy characteristics of all its selected building materials. You don’t have to wait 18 years; Passive Houses can meet the Architecture2030 challenge, today! “Doing more, with less” to maximize the success of our local and now global communities while simultaneously improving our role as stewards of the earth, is the underlying spirit of the Passive House movement.

Passive House Diagram

By completing the rigorous and technical Passive House certification training and exam, Alan Benoit has made a commitment to working with the most aggressive low energy   building standard in the world.


The roots of Passive House trace back to the 1970s, when the concepts of super insulation and passive solar management techniques were developed in the United States and Canada. In the 1990s European scientists refined and augmented these concepts to develop the Passive House standard and design techniques, which were tailored to the Central European climate zone.

German-born architect Katrin Klingenberg studied with Dr. Wolfgang Feist, a German Passive House pioneer, in Darmstadt, Germany. She also studied in the United States at Ball State University and believed that Passive House could work and thrive in the United States. She provided a proof of concept by building her own Passive House in Urbana, Ill., in 2003. The single-family two-story was the first Passive House building in the United States.

Klingenberg collaborated with construction manager Mike Kernagis to build, in partnership with the City of Urbana, Ill., several affordable housing Passive Houses. In 2007 they founded the Passive House Institute US (PHIUS). Since then PHIUS has trained and certified hundreds of Certified Passive House professionals The development of Passive House in the North America has grown exponentially since, with upwards of 100 projects completed in 2011 and many more in process.

These professionals have accumulated an invaluable body of real world experience, adapting Passive House principles to meet the challenges of North America's widely varied and extreme climate zones. Much of the information contained on this page is adopted from the Passive House Institute US (PHIUS) and Passive House Alliance US (PHAUS) websites.

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