Passive building comprises a set of design principles used to attain a quantifiable and rigorous level of energy efficiency within a specific quantifiable comfort level. “Maximize your gains, minimize your losses” summarize the approach. To that end, a passive building is designed and built in accordance with these five building-science principles: 

  • It employs continuous insulation through its entire envelope without any thermal bridging.

  • The building envelope is extremely airtight, preventing infiltration of outside air and loss of conditioned air.

  • It employs high-performance windows (typically triple-paned) and doors

  • It uses some form of balanced heat- and moisture-recovery ventilation and uses a minimal space conditioning system. 

  • Solar gain is managed to exploit the sun's energy for heating purposes and to minimize it in cooling seasons.

Passive building principles can be applied to all building typologies--from single-family homes to the apartment building to offices and skyscrapers. 

Passive design strategy carefully models and balances a comprehensive set of factors including heat emissions from appliances and occupants--to keep the building at comfortable and consistent indoor temperatures throughout the heating and cooling seasons. As a result, passive buildings offer tremendous long -term benefits in addition to energy efficiency: 

  • Superinsulation and airtight construction provides unmatched comfort and even in extreme conditions.

  • Continuous mechanical ventilation of fresh filtered air assures superb air quality. 

  • A comprehensive systems approach to modeling, design, and construction produces extremely resilient buildings. 

  • Passive building is the best path to Net Zero and Net Positive buildings because it minimizes the load that renewables are required to provide. 


What is LEED certification?

In the United States and in a number of other countries around the world, LEED certification is the recognized standard for measuring building sustainability. Achieving LEED certification is the best way for you to demonstrate that your building project is truly "green." 

The LEED green building rating system -- developed and administered by the U.S. Green Building Council, a Washington D.C.-based, a nonprofit coalition of building industry leaders -- is designed to promote design and construction practices that increase profitability while reducing the negative environmental impacts of buildings and improving occupant health and well-being. 

What are the benefits of LEED certification?

LEED certification, which includes a rigorous third-party commissioning process, offers compelling proof to you, your clients, your peers and the public at large that you've achieved your environmental goals and your building is performing as designed. Getting certified allows you to take advantage of a growing number of state and local government incentives, and can help boost press interest in your project. 

The LEED rating system offers four certification levels for new construction -- Certified, Silver, Gold, and Platinum -- that correspond to the number of credits accrued in five green design categories: sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources and indoor environmental quality. LEED standards cover new commercial construction and major renovation projects, interiors projects and existing building operations. Standards are under development to cover commercial "core & shell" construction, new home construction and neighborhood developments.

With good integration, you can achieve a range of synergies, including the following:


  • High-performance windows, high-efficiency office equipment, and lighting, and a green roof can allow for a smaller air conditioning system and reduce the amount of water needed for cooling.

  • Light-colored pervious paved or grass parking lots can reduce heat islands and control stormwater runoff.

  • Well-placed landscaping, light-colored roofs, and proper orientation and building shape can all further reduce cooling loads.

  • Cisterns help manage stormwater inexpensively and provide water for irrigation, flushing toilets and other purposes. Reducing stormwater runoff helps keeps harmful pollution out of waterways.

  • Water-efficient and waterless fixtures help reduce potable water use, lowering utility bills and decreasing the strain on municipal water supplies.


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