To adapt the European Passive House standard to North American markets, PHIUS (Passive House Institute US) will launch the new PHIUS+ 2015 passive building standard on March 25 at Seattle’s Bullitt Center.
The event, cosponsored by PHIUS/PHAUS, the passive building research institute and alliance, and Sam Hagerman, past president of PHAUS and owner of passive builder Hammer & Hand, marks implementation of the new energy performance targets in the PHIUS+ project certification program. PHIUS+ is the leading passive building certification program in North America.
“For years we have worked to increase awareness and market penetration of the passive building concept in North America,” said Hagerman. “The new PHIUS+ 2015 standard is a giant leap in this process.”
Executive Director Katrin Klingenberg will will give a brief overview of the impetus for the new standard, as well as a capsule summary of what’s new and what’s better.
Klingenberg said that “PHIUS+ 2015 gives designers and builders a powerful new tool: A building energy performance target that’s in the “sweet spot” where cost effectiveness overlaps with aggressive energy and carbon reduction. As such, it promises to ignite tremendous growth in the application of passive building principles.”
Formally known as PHIUS+ 2015 Passive Building Standard: North America, the standard is the product of nearly three years of research conducted by the PHIUS Technical Committee in partnership with Building Science Corporation under a U.S. Department of Energy Building America grant. The effort employed the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s BEopt tool (a cost-optimizing software tool) to develop optimized design guidelines for use in North America’s wide-ranging climate zones.
Passive building has gained great attention in recent years because of its potential for reducing carbon levels and mitigating climate change, for comfort and resiliency, and for saving energy costs in general. But the adoption of passive principles—superinsulation, airtight envelope, energy recovery ventilation, e.g—has been slower than hoped because of cost and other disincentives.
The new formula and standards remove those obstacles. In addition, passive building is increasingly being adopted as a platform for achieving Net Zero or Net Positive buildings—by reducing building energy requirements from the start, it brings those targets well within reach. The U.S. DOE recognized the synergy between Net Zero and passive building by partnering with PHIUS from 2012 onward. Buildings that earn PHIUS+ certification also earn the U.S. DOE’s Zero Energy Home Ready label. Since the partnership, PHIUS+ certifications have increased exponentially, and the new standard promises to not only sustain but also dramatically increase that growth.