Procuring Passive House Projects
SAB Magazine, October 24th, 2018
It takes an expert team and a rigorous methodology
By Jonathan Kearns, Deborah A. Byrne and Charlotte J. Leck
The increasing emphasis on carbon reduction in buildings has created a new imperative for the adoption of the ultra low energy Passive House standard. With all new government and publicly-funded projects required to meet Zero Carbon Targets by 2030 and all existing buildings by 2050, High Performance (HP) buildings generally, and Passive House (PH) buildings in particular have a vital role to play.
These publicly-funded projects are often procured through traditionally formulated processes, that are not always well-suited for PH projects. Rather, a successful project begins with a complementary procurement process, as the high-level performance targets of PH buildings need rigour in design and construction. Therefore, they require the ideal team and a specific process for implementation.
Passive House uses building science and biophysics to assess what the building envelope must provide to achieve high levels of occupant comfort and energy efficiency. There are seven main performance requirements to successfully meet the Passive House standard and these are modelled using the Passive House Planning Package (PHPP). The PHPP assesses the overall building performance for heating, cooling and total energy demand. For over 25 years, monitoring of buildings designed to the PH standard in Europe has consistently shown that this performance standard has been maintained over time.
With these high-performance targets, there is a requirement for an integrated approach to design, in which the general contractor or construction manager is involved from the outset.