NET-Zero and Passive House Design Strategies

Typical strategies implemented to achieve net zero buildings include well-insulated envelopes coupled with air barriers, air sealing, and the use of heat exchangers to recirculate indoor air. Other considerations include: passive solar design, landscape design, advanced window technology, airtightness, ventilation, space heating from internal heat sources such as equipment and people, lighting and appliance efficiency.

 

Passive House side view showing the circulation of fresh air through this tightly sealed structure

 

Advantages of passive buildings include fresh, clean air, homogeneous interior temperature, slow temperature changes, and low energy loads that support renewable energy sources.

 

Passive House Explained in 90 Seconds

A simple video explaining net-zero energy

 

Passive House Design Principals

  • It employs continuous insulation through its entire envelope without any thermal bridging.
  • The building envelope is extremely airtight, preventing infiltration of outside air and loss of conditioned air.
  • It employs high-performance windows and doors
  • It uses some form of balanced heat- and moisture-recovery ventilation and uses a minimal space conditioning system.
  • Solar gain is managed to exploit the sun’s energy for heating purposes and to minimize it in cooling seasons.

 

Passive building principles can be applied to all building typologies, from single-family homes to apartment buildings to multi-story offices and skyscrapers.