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What is a Passivhaus?

Passivhaus (or passive house) is a set of building concepts that focus on energy-efficient housing that has a low carbon footprint. There are five basic building principles that set standards for insulation, high-performance windows and doors, an airtight building “envelope,” minimal space conditioning, and balanced ventilation. These principles may be used in both residential (single or multi-family) and commercial construction.

Why Build a Passivhaus?

The Passivhaus concept was introduced in North America in the 1970s, but only recently has seen renewed interest due to an increased awareness of the impact of our built environments on the planet. Passive houses are designed and built with specific attention to detail and are typically very resilient. Fresh filtered air and airtight construction provide high indoor air quality and a quiet, comfortable indoor environment, regardless of the weather. A Passivhaus may even lead to lower power bills and a net-zero impact on the environment.

Can I Build a Passivhaus in North Carolina? (COULD swap to “the Mid-Atlantic States”)

Standard Passivhaus principles typically work well in moderate climates, like North Carolina. (Different principles may be recommended in other, more extreme climate zones.) Katrin Klingenberg and Mike Kernagis co-founded Passive House Institute US (PHIUS) in an effort to make passive building mainstream in the U.S. PHIUS researches and recommends best practices, sets performance standards, and certifies passive houses in the US and Canada. The PHIUS has pre-certified or certified projects in 37 states and provinces in North America.

If you are considering building a custom home in North Carolina or the mid-Atlantic states, consider a passive house. Talk to your home designer and builder about options.


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