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Beyond Passive House
Eli Honig
Architecture Student
Asked a question 2 years ago

Are there any known conflicts between the Passive House standard and other green building programs such as LEED, EnergyStar, LBC, NZE, etc? If so has anyone found any workarounds for those conflicts? In particular I wonder about how the LEED ventilation requirements align (or not) with the Passive House approach?

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In Passive House Accelerator Community you can ask and answer questions and share your experience with others!

Passive House is a methodology to achieve very energy efficient and comfortable buildings and focuses on that. LEED is a green building rating, where energy and comfort are only a part of it (which btw means you can have a LEED certified building with not so great energy performances). However,  since 01/2019 in the LEED rating, Passive Houses gain points in this rating system by displaying exemplary energy performance results:

Devon Basher
Director of Eco Energy Options, NJ, USA

Hi Eli,

Great questions, I'll offer my thoughts on some.

PH is material agnostic and performance-based.  If there is any efficiency requirement for building energy use in another standard being sought, PH will likely get it there now.  Bc PH is material agnostic so long as metrics are met, high-embodied energy materials, and even potentially toxic materials are able to be used.  Living Building Challenge assesses material characteristics differently than PH, so conflict and opportunity can and do occur there which can result in extraordinary buildings.  Energy Star and NZE are generally very easy to achieve w PH, there can be wrinkles and adjustments in water use for example which can be accommodated with appropriate design and planning.  Multi-layered building certifications can be (are) more tricky bc each has its own certification criteria.   That said, technology and capability will likely not be limiting factors in multi-certification, rather more likely intent, type, space, time, and or $ imo.   

Kind regards,

Tim Eian
CPHD at TE Studio and Climate Action Activist

We've only run into the ventilation issues once many years ago. We found that early versions of "green" standards such as LEED were rewarding "over-ventilating" of spaces (beyond ASHRAE guidelines). In hot/humid and cold climate zones, there is quite an energy penalty in such practice. I would check to see what LEED references currently to insure that this has been dialed out. Beyond "green" programs, some building codes also have this issue—particularly when dealing with very small residential units for instance, or when offering demand-based ventilation vs. constant ventilation. These are the subjects I would look for to detect potential clashes. 

We also ran into an issue with the GreenStar program162, which—years ago—required exhaust dryers, which do not work in airtight buildings. This was a program prerequisite at the time but we were able to negotiate that with the program provider and achieve dual certification without problems. 

Generally, I feel that PH is now well enough understood and respected, and that potential conflicts can be negotiated with program providers if they do not accept PH for their energy component out of the box.