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PASSIVE HOMES & WHY IT’S AN ATTRACTIVE WAY TO BUILD

You like to know you are in good health - don’t you? and to make sure you are, you visit your local doctor for your annual health check, if you don’t, then you should.

But how about this, your home could also be healthy & it should be healthy – so what exactly does that mean?

If you are considering building your new home or any other building – then take a moment & consider embarking on a plan for a Passive House.


What is a Passive House, you ask.

Passive homes were first introduced in Germany & are built with a set of rules that the home adheres to, governing the health & energy efficiency of the home.

It is a deliberate standard for energy efficiency in a building, which decreases the building's ecological footprint. It results in ultra-low energy constructions that require little energy for space heating or cooling.

Large modern house with large glass windows

We contacted Australian Passive House Association to find out more:

“Passive House is an established science- based standard, proven over 30 years, and across more than 33 countries. Originally developed in Germany, and based on research in central Europe, Passive House has since made waves on an international scale. It has evolved to suit local demands and variations in and popularity in diverse climatic regions including the Mediterranean, North and Central America, and South-East Asia.

As the number of Passive House projects worldwide approaches the 100,000 mark, we continue to see the local market thrive, including homes, schools, offices, and other building types being built and certified to the Passive House standard.”

Passive Home building takes a holistic approach to building your home, it considers the land, the positioning, the usage & the materials used in the structure and determines how to achieve the outmost benefits from all these factors.

The design of a Passive House considers the design of the home to realize strong level of energy efficiency & comfort level under a “fabric first” design philosophy.

“A Passive House is built in accordance with five building-science principles:

  1. Airtightness

  2. Thermal insulation

  3. Mechanical ventilation with heat recovery

  4. Passive House high performance windows

  5. Thermal bridge free construction”



What skills would an architect need to have to design a Passive House ? “An architect would need to complete a Certified Passive House Designer/Consultant course, which APHA host four-five times a year. This course provides the foundation Passive House design and construction knowledge necessary to undertake a Passive House project and the Certified Passive House Designer/Consultant exam.”


We wanted to know how APHA can assist anyone who is considering embarking on their journey of living in a Passive House:

“The Australian Passive House Association (APHA) is an independent, not-for-profit organisation which aims to lead change by educating, promoting, and supporting the delivery of Certified Passive House buildings in Australia, and are the official Australian affiliate of the International Passive House Association. Off the back of a stunning advancement in recent years, we have solidified our established place as the central resource for all Passive House information and resources, as well as being a valuable advocate for industry professionals and organisations.

APHA also offers education for Certified Passive House Designer/Consultant and Certified Passive House Tradesperson courses & Masterclasses on specific topics, this is done via webinars & networking sessions.

APHA also have representatives in every state & a directory so you can find a Professional with whom to connect with & start your design journey. They also have a membership program, free resources, marketing support, a Jobs Board, South Pacific Passive House Conferences, and more.


Hand drawing building plans

What is involved in Certification of a Passive House?

Buildings meeting the strict Passive House certification criteria can be certified as Passive House buildings by any of the Passive House Institute Accredited Building Certifiers operative worldwide.

APHA recommends contacting a Passive House Certifier early in the planning process, where any problems identified can be easily corrected at this point in time. In principle, certification can also be applied for after completion of the building. As a rule, all energy-relevant planning documents and technical data of the construction products are submitted before the start of construction work. After careful checking and comparison with the energy balance calculation, the certifier will provide information about any necessary corrections. After completion of the construction, any changes in the planning will be updated and documents relating to construction will be checked during the final inspection.

As an independent authority, the Passive House Institute tests and certifies products based on their suitability for use in Passive Houses. Products that carry the “Certified Passive House Components” certificate have been tested according to uniform criteria; they are comparable in terms of their specific values and are of excellent quality regarding energy efficiency. Their use facilitates the designer’s task and significantly contributes to ensuring the faultless functioning of the resulting Passive House.”

Have people of late become more aware of Passive Houses?

“Absolutely, we have seen rapid significant growth in our database and community, the interest in and volume of certified Passive House professionals, and the amount of Passive House projects currently underway. “

Looking to view some of the Passive Homes head to Certified Projects – this directory will provide a glimpse into some of the homes that exist in Australia and that have been submitted to date.

Cover of a book titled Passivhaus in Australia

There is also the book from APHA, Passivhaus in Australia that offers information on case studies on some of the first Passive Homes in Australia & is “ground-breaking”


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