Certification: Good Data Drives Great Results

Passive House Institute (PHI) certification is a framework and map that ensures your team stays on the pathway to achieve the desired high-performance results. Certification is encouraged of professionals designing Passive House buildings, of building components critical to Passive House performance, and of the Passive House building construction and commissioning itself. Each certification complements the other, removing uncertainty and giving the owner confidence in what they are developing.

The essential role of certification will be addressed at the upcoming NAPHN conference, Passive House 2020: Choose Your Future, (#PH2020) which will be held online, starting June 24.

Barry Stephens, who is presenting on certified ventilation systems at the conference and is a sales manager for Ventacity Systems, an American supplier of Passive House Institute (PHI) Certified ventilation systems, says PHI’s certification process for a building component is all physics, and it’s straightforward. You ship equipment to a testing lab, which sends the results to PHI, where the data are reviewed. This third-party validation process produces reliable efficiency numbers.

That reliability is key for building owners, engineers, occupants—everyone in the process. “Being able to trust that number means the projects will work as designed,” says Stephens. Not everyone appreciates how large the energy penalty can be from installing non-certified ventilation equipment or how much equipment inefficiency can affect a building’s comfort and its overall success.

PHI’s certification of buildings is also based on physics. Alex Bernstein, who is participating in an Owners Roundtable session at the conference, is one owner/developer who chose to certify his newest project, Flow Chelsea, a 55-unit mixed-use residential building in Manhattan that recently won a Buildings of Excellence award from NYSERDA. “We felt that certification would help create the brand,” says Bernstein. Although Passive House doesn’t yet have instant name recognition, he notes that more people are becoming familiar with Passive House every year.

Flow Chelsea’s apartments hit the rental market late last year, and the response was rapid. “People were lining up to rent them at above-market projections,” Bernstein says. In addition to the high-end finishes and build-out, would-be renters were drawn to signing leases by a notable Passive House quality—the peace and tranquility within the units. The superinsulation in the building blunts noise transmission from the streets, delivering housing that is buffeted from the urban roar. Some prospects also mentioned the high-quality ventilation system and consistent supply of fresh, filtered air.

Bernstein foresees a growing awareness in the near future and he is actively seeking sites in the New York metropolitan area for his next multifamily—and, definitely, Passive House—building.

To find out more about Passive House Certifications register for #PH2020!

Categories: Certification