May 2, 2023

What is Passive House Certification?

We’re sure by now you’ve heard us mention that all of our newly developed homes in Lancaster Park are Passivhaus Low Energy Building certified. However, we appreciate that many people don’t actually know or understand what this means and so they come to us. So, what is the Passivhaus certification?

To achieve certification all buildings undergo a rigorous compliance process which ensures the highest standard of energy efficiency and quality craftmanship and ultimately leading to a Passivhaus Institute   certificate.

So, what’s the first stage of building a Passivhaus residence?

The design phase is the first and most vital part of the Passivhaus building process, due to the technical specification of the building it requires competent planning by certified Passivhaus designers or consultants who play an instrumental role in those initial stages of planning for a passive house

Building to this standard is complex and takes skill. First of all, it’s critical that all suppliers and tradespeople involved understand the key principles, together with the high specification components and materials required to maximise the building’s performance. Of note, the Passivhaus Institute, can upskill tradespeople in order to achieve a certified Passivhaus qualification.

 What are the five key principles that make Passivhaus homes?

The five key principles that a Passivhaus property MUST have to achieve certification are:

  1. High levels of thermal performance insulation
  2. High specification triple glazed windows and doors
  3. An airtightness preventing loss of heat
  4. Mechanical heat recovery ventilator
  5. Thermal bridge-free detailing

Is it more expensive to build a Passivhaus compared to a standard dwelling?

As the saying goes, ‘quality is remembered long after the price is forgotten’. This really is the case when it comes to developing Passivhaus homes. While the method and how it is applied are an extremely important process of the Passivhaus standard; the materials that are used are as equally significant.

The initial costs to build a Passivhaus home are considerably higher than those associated with typical building standards in Northern Ireland, however it is these premium quality products that help achieve the low energy consumption.

There are a variety of building material suppliers that source the house building industry with certified Passivhaus components that have undergone independent uniform testing, which are contributing factors to a Passivhaus property achieving this certification. These include everything from thermal building blocks, thermal performance insulation, triple glazed windows and doors to the ventilation and heating system.

Who has the authority to certify a Passivhaus?

As mentioned earlier, to undertake a Passivhaus project, the project must first have a Passivhaus Designer prepare all the complex workings in the Passivhaus Planning Package software (PHPP). To be able to boast of the title of a Passivhaus, your property must be designed and built using the five key principles that make Passivhaus homes, it is these principles that will be examined and advised on by the Designer. Once the PHPP modelling has been prepared, this is sent for verification and analysis by an independent Passivhaus Certifier.

Certifiers are individuals who have been internationally accredited by the Passivhaus Institute (PHI) to assess and issue the Passivhaus building certification. When assessing a project, the certifier must be unbiased and from a separate organisation to that of the main design team to provide an impartial verification.

At Fraser Millar, we are passionate about Passivhaus and recognise the global need to become less reliant on fossil fuels for a greener future. However, we also want our homeowners to have control of their energy consumption, as well as the opportunity to live in a healthier climate, free from bacteria, pollens and germs.

By implementing Passivhaus innovative design principles to our properties, we are producing low energy buildings that exceed homeowners’ expectations, providing an improved and more comfortable lifestyle.