Passive House

Apex personnel are cross trained for both Building Enclosure & Passive House Consulting.  Hiring Apex for both services results in substantial cost savings for both design development and field reviews.  This integrated service ensures the project is on the right path forward from its earliest conception in the schematic design stage through the construction phase.  Apex provides expert building science advice to eliminate complexity and maximize efficiency to design and build a Passive House with confidence.  Outlined below are lists of Passive House Services available for each step towards Passive House Certification.   

Our Passive House Services begin with building enclosure design to review and discuss design concept construction assemblies.  This will help designers account for appropriate wall thicknesses when starting the floor plan layouts.  Schematic Design Stage Modeling is recommended to assess the architectural form, orientation, construction assemblies and effective R-values.  Passive House performance requires a ‘House-as-a-System’ approach.  No single component or construction assembly can produce a Passive House.  For example, a more complex architectural form may require improvements to the building enclosure, more attention to building orientation and window positioning to compensate.  Energy Modeling is a design tool to optimize the energy performance before major design decisions become fixed.  This is an effective way to instantly analyze different design options for energy effectiveness and financial feasibility.

Apex develop customized building enclosure detail packages with construction assemblies based on the results of the Energy Modeling and the effective R-values required.  Each construction detail provides a solution to maintain air barrier continuity as outlined in the Air Barrier Quality Assurance Plan.  Apex in collaboration with Akira Living can provide pre-designed construction assemblies and details to expediate the design process and lower building enclosure design fees.

Apex merge Building Enclosure & Passive House Field Review Services to provide project savings and eliminate duplicated services. This Enhanced Field Review service includes:

  • Training trades on construction sequencing and detailing mock-ups.  
  • Training trades to execute the Air Barrier Quality Assurance Plan.
  • Review construction details on-site.

This complete Passive House Service allows us to accurately document the entire project for verification by a Passive House Certifier if pursuing Passive House Certification.  If Passive House is a project goal or you would like to learn more about Passive House, contact our Certified Passive House Designer / Consultant today! 

What is Passive House?
Passive House is at the foundation of how we build better.  It is a building standard.  The term Passive House (Passivhaus in German) refers to a rigorous, voluntary world leading standard in energy efficient construction for both new and renovated buildings developed by the Passive House Institute (PHI).  Passive House certification is a quality assurance process that determines whether a project meets all the technical criteria for the Passive House, EnerPHit and PHI Low Energy Building Standard.  Passive House certification confirms that the house / building has been designed to achieve high levels of occupant comfort and energy performance.  There are many non-energy benefits to Passive House that provide additional value including:

  • Comfortable interior conditions with unprecedented thermal balance,
  • Better indoor air quality,
  • Better soundproofing of outdoor noise,
  • Enhanced durability with resilient building enclosure assemblies.

Passive House buildings consume up to 90% less heating and cooling energy than conventional buildings.  Passive Houses achieve this enormous energy conservation using good quality building components and design techniques including:

  • super-insulated building enclosure,
  • energy efficient windows,
  • reducing thermal bridges through the building enclosure,
  • airtight building enclosure (0.6 air changes per hour or less at 50 Pascal),
  • heat recovery ventilation (HRV),
  • eliminating/minimizing the need for cooling with shading and HRV system.

PHI qualifies designers to help ensure that the design and construction are completed with the highest competence possible.  Apex has been working within this methodology since Apex personnel, Cody Belton completed the Passive House Design/Construction Course in 2012.  Subsequently Cody wrote the Certified Passive House Designer Examination and was awarded the Certified Passive House Designer (CPHD) designation by PHI in Darmstadt, Germany.  Apex provides Passive House services to homeowners, architects, residential designers, developers and builders considering Passive House projects.  

Passive House + BC Energy Step Code 

The Government of British Columbia has provided the framework on how all buildings will need to progress to net-zero ready by 2032.  The Passive House Standard set limits on energy consumption, which is necessary to achieve Net Zero for most building sites.  All steps (Step 1 to Step 5) in the BC Energy Step Code will require energy modeling and air barrier commissioning, similar to Passive House.  Energy Modeling pre-construction will be required on every project to generate the proposed building’s Thermal Energy Demand Intensity (TEDI), which is a metric of building enclosure performance to determine if a minimum level of energy-efficiency is met.  By 2032, all buildings are required to be net-zero ready with a minimum TEDI of 15 kWh/m²/year.  The BC Energy Step Code aim to make high-performance energy-efficient houses / buildings the norm by 2032, and they identify the international Passive House Standard as one way to achieve that target. 

Apex provides project design assistance, full building enclosure consulting / design and energy modeling services for Step 4 & 5 for Part 9 & Step 3 & 4 for Part 3 buildings in the BC Energy Step Code.  Apex becomes your trusted Energy Advisors and educators through both the design and construction process.