Tales from the Trenches—Passive House Ventilation Strategies, Common Construction Issues and How to Curb Them

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Conference Proceeding by ASHRAE, 2023



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The Passive House building certification standard is known widely as a voluntary, rigorous energy efficiency standard that has set a high benchmark for low-energy buildings. The framework of any Passive House follows these five pillars: air tightness, improved thermal continuity, thermal bridge-free construction, high-performing windows, and balanced mechanical ventilation. Readers will learn more about the Passive House standard, specifically how balanced ventilation is applied at a large scale in a cold climate and how commissioning plays a critical role in this process. The following conclusions are derived from the experiences of commissioning energy recovery and heat recovery ventilation systems in Passive House projects and the various execution paths on multifamily and commercial buildings. Here, the Authors will explore their ‘tales from the trenches’ experiences and share lessons learned stemming from common construction issues. The audience will be challenged to think differently about standard ventilation shortcomings and how the codes of the future may push for more balanced and efficient solutions to ventilation issues. The subsequent information will demonstrate the coordination necessary between Passive House consultants, commissioning agents, and contractors during the construction of a large-scale, energy-efficient multifamily building to achieve outstanding performance results. The commissioning process and its importance in developing a project from early design to the close-out phase will be summarized. Readers will review the process that has successfully delivered complex projects and assisted project teams in balancing their air-side systems, as well as the coordination with contractors that ensures a balanced system performs to satisfy the design intent while being energy efficient and achieving the passive house certification goals.

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