The Passivhaus, or Passive House, standard is a rigorous, voluntary and performance-based standard for energy efficiency in a building. Originally from central Europe, the standard is finding traction in the Australian market. Proponents of the standard cite an enhanced drive for excellence in energy efficiency, indoor comfort and occupant health and wellbeing. With rising fuel costs, there is also a strong economic case for increasing efficiency in buildings. Whilst Passivhaus is currently expanding across the residential market, Australia will soon also see projects realised in the education, commercial and aged-care sectors, with many others to follow.
This note will outline the criteria and general requirements to achieve the standard, what the impact is for a typical project, and demonstrate how it is easier to achieve Passivhaus in the relatively mild climates of Australia than in the central European climates.