Utopia’s Passive House Resource Guide

Passive House design is energy-efficient, but may require a bit of extra planning. Here are nine resources to ensure you’re in the right hands when implementing Passive House principles in your own project.
Passive homes are super-insulated buildings that provide energy efficiency and more benefits

Passive House-designed homes may come with triple-pane windows and other energy-efficient products. Photo by Marcus Brooks, courtesy of The Catskill Project team

Though Passive Houses are sustainable, energy-efficient, and good for the environment, they’re no easy feat. Even Buck Moorhead, leading partner and architect in The Catskill Project, said that receiving proper training for Passive House design is paramount to the success of the project.

Recommended by the team behind The Catskill Project—which recently debuted its first carbon-neutral model home in Livingston Manor, N.Y.—here is a list of resources available to developers, builders, and architects aiming to dive into the world of Passive House design.


PASSIVE HOUSE DESIGN RESOURCE GUIDE

Passipedia - The Passive House Resource

This website is a one-stop shop for cutting edge articles on Passive House design. Information for tools, tips, and training can be easily found and digested through short articles on Passipedia. The resource even comes with a hyperlinked table of contents for quick access to specific principles, such as thermal bridge free design or the blower door test. 

“Passipedia constitutes a vast array of cutting edge, scientifically sound, Passive House relevant articles. On Passipedia, basic Passive House information and insights are available for all to see, whereas members of the International Passive House Association (iPHA) receive special access to the more in-depth sections.” — Passipedia


The Passive House Network

This website grants access to Passive House training courses—such as the pathway to becoming a Certified Passive House Designer (CPHD) or Certified Passive House Tradesperson. It offers advanced on-demand courses and a step-by-step pathway for anyone to become certifiably trained in Passive House design. 

“The Passive House training overview demonstrates that no matter your background, depending on how you work with buildings, there are courses appropriate for your needs. So, while architects, engineers, and consultants are obvious candidates, these courses are meant for contractors, project managers, and a wide variety of industry stakeholders — from developers and real estate professionals to policymakers and regulators. Passive House education is a four-part process, that builds on the formal coursework, to include the apprenticeship education that comes with the building certification process.” — The Passive House Network


The Passive House Institute

This website stems from the independent research and development of Passive House design by Dr Wolfgang Feist, a German physicist. Founded in 1996, the Passive House Institute (PHI) plays a major role in the concept of the Passive House, and their website acts as a research hub for the design technique. Consultancy about building physics, technical guidance, and expertise for new projects can be found here.

“The Passive House Institute has assumed a leading position with regard to research on and development of construction concepts, building components, planning tools and quality assurance for especially energy efficient buildings… The Institute acts as an independent testing and certification centre for buildings and building components such as wall and construction systems, windows, doors, connections, ventilation systems and compact systems.” — Passive House Institute


International Passive House Association (iPHA)

This website broadcasts a variety of news articles and press releases dating all the way back to 2010. With over a dozen affiliate organizations and a stream of blog posts, iPHA aims to educate and inform the public, while offering fresh content surrounding Passive House design. Additionally, they are quite active on social media, which allows for easy and constant access to their data.

“iPHA is a global network of Passive House stakeholders including architects, planners, scientists, suppliers, manufacturers, policymakers, contractors, property developers and more! We work to promote the Passive House Standard and foster a greater public understanding of highly energy efficient buildings. Our membership network encourages the exchange of Passive House knowledge, providing members with a range of benefits and advocating for Passive House in policy, the media, and amongst the general public and entire range of construction professionals.” — International Passive House Association


PHIUS - Passive House Institute US

This website is the largest center for Passive Building Certifications in North America. From learning the principles of passive building, to getting a project professionally certified, PHIUS has it covered. Here developers are able to find a Passive House professional, or become one themself.

“PHIUS trains and certifies professionals, maintains the PHIUS+ climate-specific passive building standard, certifies and quality assures passive buildings, and conducts research to advance high-performance building. Project teams are increasingly adopting passive building principles and the PHIUS+ standard for single-family, multifamily, and commercial construction to achieve Net Zero buildings.” — Passive House Institute US


The Building Energy Exchange — Passive House Primer 

This seminar from The Building Energy Exchange—a center dedicated to reducing harmful climate change effects through efficient building styles—focuses on the NYC Passive House market. Instructed by experts with decades of experience in sustainable building, the Primer allows users to schedule a free presentation on Passive House building standards in the rapidly evolving real estate market in New York City.

“The Primer is ideal for property owners, managers, developers, and anyone interested in gaining a plain-English introduction to high-performance construction concepts. Architects, engineers, and design professionals new to Passive House will also benefit from this fun, introductory course.” — Building Energy Exchange


New York Passive House (NYPH)

And speaking of NYC, this website lets users become a member of New York Passive House—a network of professionals working to build resilient, sustainable buildings. They strive to make the Passive House design a standard in the industry, and members of NYPH are granted the tools and connections to help make that a reality.

“New York Passive House (NYPH) was founded in 2010 by a group of professionals who found the need for an energy-efficient built environment. What started as an unofficial meetup of like-minded professionals has developed into a strong non-profit with members of diverse professional backgrounds. Today, NYPH leads the movement to promote the Passive House building energy standard in New York State and the New York City metropolitan area.” — New York Passive House


Passive House Accelerator

This website is a sleek, modern news hub, fresh with multimedia content for consumers and builders alike. Videos, podcasts, magazines, and articles can be found regarding the latest industry trends, passive house project tracking, and interesting thought pieces.

“Passive House Accelerator LLC is a catalyst for zero carbon building. We cultivate a collaborative platform for sharing innovation and thought leadership in Passive House design and construction. We convene practitioners, institutions, manufacturers, and anyone concerned about buildings and climate change to dive into the details of creating better buildings. We work to accelerate both solution-making and solution-makers in the zero carbon building movement.” — Passive House Accelerator


475 High Performance Building Supply

This website features products needed for a sustainable Passive House build. Specifically, they sell air-sealing tape, something that any Certified Passive House Designer would call a necessity. However, they also supply knowledge resources and access to products from their manufacturing partners—products such as ventilation systems, testing tools, and other required components for a Passive House build.

“475’s mission is to supply essential materials, building components, and knowledge that will lead a transformation of the North American construction industry toward making durable high-performance, Passive House and zero-energy buildings. The name ‘475’ is a reference to the heat demand requirement of the Passive House Standard, 4.75 kilo BTUs, per square foot, per year.” — 475 High Performance Building Supply

About The Author

Quinn Purcell, UTOPIA Associate Editor

Quinn Purcell

Quinn Purcell is a graduate of Idaho State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication, and an emphasis in Multiplatform Journalism. He specializes in video, photography, copywriting, graphic design, and even music production. He currently serves as Associate Editor for Utopia. When he's not working you can usually find Quinn at a local brewery, or watching true crime shows with his cat.

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