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Passive House Design

What is Passive House?

Passive house is a strict yet voluntary standard of the building that results in very low energy buildings that use little to no electricity to heat and cool themselves. 

Houses designed to this standard provide a quiet and comfortable environment and allow home owners to save 70-80% on heating and cooling all while having minimal mechanical equipment in the home.  Air tightness maintains an even temperature and fresh air throughout the home, resulting in a dry basement and minimal pests.

The passive house design standard was a thought child of Bo Adamson of Lund University, Sweden, and Wolfgang Feist of the Institut für Wohnen und Umwelt (Institute for Housing and the Environment, Darmstadt, Germany) in May of 1988.

Two years later four-row houses were constructed in Darmstadt, becoming the first passive house buildings.

Key factors to designing a Passive House building

When broken down, passive house design is fairly simple. The following points are key factors that ensure a highly energy efficient house:


Similar to wearing a nice thick jacket in the winter, it keeps heat inside and requires less energy to maintain a constant temperature.


Proper air barriers and taping ensure that you aren't wasting energy to heat the outside world.


Thermal bridges are like small highways for heat energy to travel from the inside of your house, past the insulation and be lost. Keeping them as minimal as possible creates a stronger thermal envelope for your home.


Triple pane European windows and doors allow all the beauty of traditional windows but provide better insulating properties and seals.


Proper orientation allows us to best use the sun for its heating energy. Roof slope can be manipulated to allow more light during the winter months and less in the summer, maintaining a stable temperature inside.


A heat recovery ventilator cuts energy usage by taking the heat from already warmed indoor air and transferring it to new air being brought into the building. This allows for fresh air in the home with a much smaller energy loss to heat new air.

In order to know more about Passive House design in Toronto, contact award-winning principal Architect, Terrell Wong BArch OAA by phone at 416-898-8089 or by email at

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