The Passivhaus Standard

Passivhaus and Commercial Construction

By Adam Cohen

Passivhaus Articles

By Adam Cohen

Commercial buildings and other large-scale projects (e.g. school dormitories, community centers, sports arenas, etc.) are ideal candidates for Passivhaus (aka “Passive House”) design and construction.

Why?  Geometry.

To achieve revolutionary gains in efficiency, comfort and durability, Passivhaus design and construction focuses on creating advanced building envelopes.  And because larger structures like commercial buildings enjoy a smaller ratio between envelope surface area and interior volume, it’s comparatively easier to retain heat or cool energy.  So the upfront investment in building envelope is proportionally smaller.  Done right, commercial Passivhaus construction need be no more expensive to build than conventional construction.

Building to the Passivhaus standard, by definition, results in reduced space heating and cooling loads, which means smaller mechanical equipment running at lower capacity and with lower frequency, which in turn, translates to decreased capital outlays at beginning and end of life , and diminished operations and maintenance costs. A high-quality, durable envelope offers the same benefits for the building shell, itself. In today’s competitive marketplace, where return on investment means everything, investing in an annuity that grows over time from an owner-operator standpoint just makes sense.

And no conversation about commercial Passivhaus design and construction is complete without mentioning increased comfort and improved air quality. The rigorous air sealing and insulation requirements of Passivhaus preclude the possibility of indoor drafts and surface temperature differences, the two primary causes of thermal discomfort. Effective moisture management and the constant, controlled supply of filtered, fresh outdoor air prevent mold growth, and provide unsurpassed breathability, free of contaminants and other health and environmental hazards.

Whatever the facility type, whether office, retail, food service, educational, medical/dental, religious, or otherwise, Passivhaus is right for the job. See what people are saying: PassivScience In the News.