Climate-Specific Passive Building Standards
In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recognized the value of performance-based passive building standards when it joined with Passive House Institute US (PHIUS) to promote DOE’s Challenge Home program in tandem with the PHIUS+ Certification program. Since then, the number of passive building projects that have been certified under the partnership has grown exponentially because of some synergy. Passive building represents a well-developed approach to arrive at the envelope basis for zero energy and energy-positive projects by employing performance-based criteria and maximizing cost-effective savings from conservation before implementing renewable energy technologies. The Challenge Home program evolved into the Zero Energy Ready Home (ZERH) program in a move toward 1) attaining zero energy and 2) including active renewable energy generation such as photovoltaics (PV)—toward the zero energy goal.
This study has two objectives:
- Validate (in a theoretical sense) verifiable climate-specific passive standards and space conditioning criteria that (1) retain ambitious, environmentally necessary energy reduction targets and (2) are economically feasible. Such standards provide designers an ambitious but achievable performance target on the path to net-zero energy.
- Develop simplified formulas for inclusion in a design and verification software tool that allows custom criteria to be generated based on specific climate and energy cost parameters for any particular location.