I was first introduced to Passivhaus several year back when we decided to pursue it in the architect’s practice where I work. It seemed like the right step forward in so many ways. However, learning about the Passivhaus Standard and everything that is required for certification, presented many challenges. There were some technical challenges, but probably the biggest challenges were to the received wisdom that I held firmly onto at the time.
This somewhat tongue-in-cheek post explores some of those mindset challenges with the benefit of hindsight. It also explores some other mindset challenges that arise from delivering passivhaus architecture.
The Passivhaus Standard sometimes gets confused with a passive solar design approach, particularly when it comes to solar orientation. This often means people assume that solar orientation is critical for passivhaus, like it is for passive solar design.
On the other hand, sometimes those who particularly favour a passive solar approach assume that the opposite is true. That solar orientation doesn’t matter at all for passivhaus. And if you pick up a book on passivhaus, such as the one I reviewed last week, solar orientation doesn’t feature in the list of key methods or principles.
So which is it?
The key to passivhaus is an integrated approach to design. Solar orientation does matter for passivhaus. However, it doesn’t need to be the driving factor.