Passive House is a strict building efficiency standard that is increasingly being incentivized by the MassSave program for new construction buildings. It’s the best path to the ideals of ‘net zero’ and ‘net positive.’. And it’s not just for houses—passive building works for schools, offices, hotels, multifamily, and high-rises too.
Passive House certified buildings use quantitative metrics to ensure five building-science principles:
- The building envelope is extremely airtight (4-5 times more airtight than required by MA Energy Stretch Code), preventing infiltration of outside air and loss of conditioned air.
- There is continuous insulation throughout the building’s entire envelope without any thermal bridging.
- High-performance windows (often triple-paned windows) and doors manage solar gain to exploit the sun’s energy for heating purposes in the heating season and to minimize overheating during the cooling season.
- Balanced heat- and moisture-recovery ventilation systems bring in much more fresh air than required by code.
- The building is designed with a much smaller heating and cooling system than conventionally used.
This leads to construction that reduces a building’s overall energy use by 40%+ compared to a new construction building built to MA Energy Stretch Code requirements and most LEED levels. To meet Massachusetts’ climate goals, we need to ensure that all new construction is extremely efficient. Passive House is our best way to do that. MassSave now has incentives to help owner’s build and certify to this standard.
More information available at Passive House Massachusetts and ‘What is Passive Building?: Passive House Institute U.S.