Passive House Standard method

Passive House, or Passivhaus as it is known in German, is a design standard that requires appropriate levels of insulation, a design that reduces thermal bridges, air tightness, high-performance windows and doors, and mechanical ventilation with heat recovery (MVHR).

Passive House is a performance-based standard that sets the criteria on thermal comfort, space heating and cooling demand/load, indoor humidity, air tightness and annual primary energy demand.

The Passive House Institute (PHI) administers an international certification scheme, carried out by a PHI-approved Passive House Certifier. A certified Passive House undergoes a quality assurance process that ensures that it is built as designed and meets the comfort standards required by the Passive House standard.

Passive House is different from Passive design. Passive design principles result in a design appropriate to the climate that the dwelling is located. By utilising the Sun and cooling breezes, passive design helps reduce space heating and cooling while maintaining a comfortable temperature range within the home.

The Passive House standard method is available to both single and multi dwelling developments.

In the Passive House standard method, you will need to:

  • Engage a Certified Passive House Designer who will simulate the dwelling design with the Passive House Planning Package (PHPP); and
  • Enter the name of the Certified Passive House Designer into BASIX.

The Australian Passive House Association can help you locate a Certified Passive House Designer to your project.

Currently the Passive House standard method is only available to certain locations in NSW, where it is demonstrated that the thermal performance of dwellings satisfying the Passive House standard is at least as good as those passing the BASIX Simulation method. Note that Passive House assessments do not directly correlate to outcomes from the Simulation method using NatHERS accredited software.

If the Passive House standard method is not available to the location of your dwelling, please contact your Certified Passive House Designer or the Australian Passive House Association.

After you generate the BASIX certificate with the Passive House standard method, you will need to attach it to a PHPP software report issued by the Certified Passive House Designer to the BASIX certificate and submit to the Council or the certifying authority. The verification section of the PHPP software report needs to show that your dwelling satisfies the space heating, space cooling and air tightness requirements of the Passive House standard.

The Certified Passive House Designer or Passive House Certifier needs to provide a written endorsement that the plans and documentation provided have been assessed in accordance with the Passive House standard. The template for written endorsement can be accessed here.

After the construction of your dwelling is completed, you will need to engage a tester registered with the Air Tightness Testing and Measurement Association (ATTMA) to conduct an onsite blower door test. Results from the onsite blower door test must show that air tightness of the dwelling does not exceed the 0.6 air changes at 50 Pascals pressure (ACH50) as required by the Passive House standard. You need to attach the results of the onsite blower door test to the BASIX certificate when applying for the occupation certificate.