Uncovering the True Cost of Passive House: What We Can Learn from the Early Adopters

How do we get lenders to fund high-performance construction and developers to drive adoption? With data. While the Passive House design movement has been active in the US and Canada since 1973, it has only recently gained considerable attention in the multifamily affordable housing sector. There are ample rumors and assumptions about the perceived costs and improved performance of Passive House development, but there is relatively little hard data available to demonstrate the benefits it provides, such as: utilities “savings” achieved, maintenance advantages, and the financial and non-financial benefits to tenants. In order to effectively underwrite the utility “savings,” lenders need to understand how Passive House buildings compare to their non-Passive peers. By understanding these key metrics, lenders can begin to develop more aggressive underwriting standards that better reflect real performance to overcome incremental first cost barriers that prevent wider adoption of these principles. In this session, participants will explore operational data and analysis from a study focused on Passive House buildings in the Northeast. The study—a collaboration between the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development, Bright Power, Steven Winter Associates, and CPC— works to demystify Passive performance and incremental first costs.

Session Chair(s): 

Event Time: 

Thursday, September 24, 2020 - 3:00pm to 4:00pm

Experience Level: 

1 (no prior experience/knowledge needed)

CEU Information: 

PHI 1.0 credit

Learning Objectives:

  • Understand the real-life economic and energy consumption benefits of Passive House projects and how they compare to buildings built to code in the Northeast
  • Analyze real Passive House operational data to unlock financing options to cover higher first costs
  • Identify and address the risk factors when designing to Passive House standards
  • Review case studies on real Passive House projects and break down performance against a control group of code built buildings

Session ID: