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Frequently Asked Questions

Technically any house can be upgraded to PassivHaus standard, however the further you go outside of the guiding principals, the more additional features you will need to add to maintain compliance or pass the PHPP software test. this might be as simple as adding more insulation, different glass or exterior blinds for sun control.

Ideally every home would orientate north to maximise winter sun ingress and to catch prevailing northeast breezes on moderate days. However, not every block of land has ideal orientation, and therefore the PassivHaus standard can allow us to adapt and compromise to accommodate any aspect, with correct shading and careful selection of components.

Every PassivHaus will have operable windows to allow for night purging and individual users requirements. The building code requires it as well. The biggest difference is that the windows are designed carefully to ensure cross ventilation without allowing excess heat ingress.

A standard house is often designed in such a way that the windows are rarely opened, due to poor orientation, or because the owners run the air conditioning all day long.

A properly designed PassivHaus will allow for windows to be opened at times when the conditions are right to allow airflow through the house, but on days when it is too hot or humid, or the noise outside is unbearable, they can be sealed up tight and the ventilation system takes over.

Even though the energy recovery ventilation system is running 24 hours a day, the volume of flow is very low, and the fans involved use very little power. Far less power than a bunch of ceiling fans or air conditioners. And the ventilation system delivers temperature corrected (cooled) filtered fresh air to every part of every room 24 hours a day, 7 days a week resulting in the highest level of indoor air quality in any house, especially when compared to normal houses. On average a PassivHaus uses one tenth of the operational energy of a normal home built in Australia.

The short answer is yes, because here in Brisbane, we have a high number of days where the outside temperate exceeds 25 degrees, and more importantly, when humidity exceeds 60%.

Air conditioning is the most effective way to reduce humidity, however, with such a highly insulated building, the cost to run your air conditioners is cut to less than one tenth, and can be run by solar panels during the day, effectively reducing the cooling costs to zero.

This is a difficult question to answer because it depends on what you compare it to.

– A normal house built to the minimum building code standards here in Australia is actually a very low performance building, and when you look at the workmanship displayed in today’s low cost buildings, the performance gap can be much worse. The cost to upgrade these buildings will be high, and of course you will need to source a better builder that can build to the quality required.

– If, however, you are comparing a quality premium home, built by craftsmen to a higher standard, where premium features and fittings are already being installed, the performance gap isn’t going to be as high. The cost differences in these homes may even be zero or negative.

– In many cases, there are offsets to be considered. For example, the ventilation system will be cheaper than the massive air conditioner that you might otherwise need. 

– If you look at the running costs over 10 years, a passive house is considerably cheaper.

The PHPP (passive house planning package) software is the validation tool used around the globe by design professionals to ensure that the house when its built will perform exactly as it was designed, and when even minor changes are made, it can assess the impact those changes make on the energy consumption and overall performance of the building. It also measures and validates the energy your house will need to maintain itself during its entire life cycle.

NO. you do not have to get any PassivHaus certified by PHI in Germany, unless you want to use the title “Certified Passive House”. You will however still need to validate the performance of the building using PHPP to make sure that the building performs as it should.

Some owners make decisions along the way that mean they cannot get certified. This might include choosing cheaper windows, which are not certified, or using materials that don’t quite make the performance recommendations of the PHPP software. The software will still tell you whether your building is a good building, it just wont give you the green tick you need to get certified.


– The standard filters in the energy recovery ventilation system filter down to 5 microns, removing dust, pollen and mould spores. All of the typical contaminants that set off asthmatics and hay fever sufferers.

– In addition, you can opt to add a secondary filtration system to most ERV’s to filter down to 1 micron, and to remove diesel particulates, smoke particles and many chemicals in the air. Sometimes called a hepa filter, these filters remove microscopic particles when needed.

– Because the building envelope is sealed and tested to not exceed 0.6 air changes per hour at 50 pascals, you can be sure that contaminants can not leak in through the building fabric. this provides the highest level of security to those most vulnerable in your family.

A PassivHaus requires an airtight, quality constructed, full insulated envelope, which by default makes a very sound proof building. The double or triple glazed windows can reduce noise by up to 90% when compared to some older homes.

This is particularly useful for houses that are located on noisy roads, railway lines or under flight paths, which are becoming more of a concern to Brisbanites now that the second runway is open.

The type of construction can then be enhanced further for sensitive building occupants.

PassivHaus works everywhere, although in milder climates like Brisbane, it may not be the only choice that suits the climate. There are factors that may influence which house suits best. 

PassivHaus does give you options that mainstream offerings cannot achieve, especially if your block of land does not have the ideal aspect, or is located close to a noisy road, or does not get a breeze? Every site is different, and every home owner has different expectations.

If you think about a PassivHaus like an esky. You buy a cheap esky your beer goes hot quickly, and then you need to refrigerate the beer to be able to enjoy it. If your esky is better sealed, better insulated, constructed so it lasts for a long time, you will enjoy ice cold beer for longer.

With a PassivHaus you are investing in quality proven reliability that has been tested around the world in some of the harshest climates such as Dubai and Iceland. We know it provides a better outcome, no matter where in the world you build, including Brisbane and Queensland.


Contact Owen To Discuss Your PassivHaus Project Today.