PHIUS (Passive House Institute United States) is one of two organizations in the US that promote and issue certificates for completion of a home that uses extremely small amounts of energy to heat and cool a home. The other organization is an affiliate of the German PassivHaus Institute.
This organization is based in Illinois. The goal is to make passive building principles the mainstream best building practice, and the mainstream market energy performance standard.
What is a Passive House? It is a home that people want to live in. It must be comfortable for the occupants and it must use very small amounts of energy to heat and cool; and for total energy use as well. RIGHT: A Passive House under construction.
Design for a Passive Home emphasizes energy efficient features that are installed during the construction of the home which do not have moving parts. The design relies on all parts to be installed to manufacturers specifications. These details are verified after they are installed.
The idea is that insulation and air sealing are very cost effective compared to large and sometimes complex new technology in HVAC Systems. Instead of buying the expensive technology, use the money, that would usually spent on upgraded HVAC system, to increase the insulation levels. The details of how much insulation, what type and where are certainly of interested to the builder and others involved in planning and construction. These details are less important to the home buyer, they just want things to work at a lower cost.
I am writing about Passive House construction since I just finished the training and testing to become a Passive House Verifier with PHIUS. You will hear more about the Passive House concept and how it might apply to any home.