Connecticut Passive House

Community Mission

To transform Connecticut’s built environment by fostering low energy use and the sustainable impact of implementing Passive House principles and practices.

Community Vision

Creating a healthy, sustainable, and resilient future by advancing Passive House as the building industry standard – through education, advocacy, professional support, and community collaboration.

Community Philosophy

As New Englanders, we have the reputation of being Yankees. Politely described as frugal, we don’t like spending money on oil, gas, and electricity. When you come right down to it, we’re thrifty and practical.

In Connecticut’s climate, comfort usually comes at a high cost. Staying warm in winter and cool in summer usually requires a lot of energy. That’s our problem: we can’t be both comfortable and thrifty… Or can we?

As architects, designers, builders, consultants, and tradespeople, it’s our job to tackle the problems with buildings and devise sensible, practical solutions. “Sensible” is usually simple, and that’s exactly what the Passive House standard is: a simple, sensible, practical solution to our problems.  Passive House is a clear path to low energy buildings.

Passive House is not only practical and simple, but it’s based on scientific research. With its data-driven principles, science is our guide.

As individuals, we have a wide variety of priorities. One person may need lower energy bills, another person may need to control indoor air quality to manage their asthma, and yet another may want a more durable house for less maintenance and higher resale value.

Passive House is about low energy first, and then there are perks: comfort, superior indoor air quality, greater durability, and resilience are a few of them. Whatever our priorities, we all desire to create better buildings—Passive House buildings.

Connecticut Passive House is a growing community of professionals providing Passive House design and construction solutions, education, and outreach. Our events will inform, support, and expand our membership.

Join our Community to connect with other Passive House enthusiasts and get the latest news.

Community Leaders

Sara Holmes AIA, LEED AP BD+C, CPHD

Architect, Wyeth Architects

Leonard Wyeth AIA, CPHD

Principal, Wyeth Architects

About Passive House, Passive House Institute (PHI), and Phius

‘Passive House’ is not limited to houses, nor is it passive solar. Certified building types include everything from small houses to office towers, rural to urban, private and public, affordable to luxurious.  All buildings can (and should!) employ Passive House strategies even if they do not seek certification.

Passive House Institute (PHI) – Germany

Based in Darmstadt, Germany, The Passive House Institute (PHI) was founded in 1996 as the world’s leading source of Passive House research, certification, and training. Passive House standards originated and developed here. PHI offers independent testing and certification for buildings and building components, and consults on the development of new products. 

Phius – United States

Phius (initially known as Passive House Institute U.S or PHIUS) is a leading certifier of passive house projects, trains architects and builders, and conducts advanced building science research. Phius was founded to combat climate change by making passive building practices the mainstream US-market standard. Phius developed the first climate-specific, cost-optimized passive house standard in 2015. Although it was initially designed for North America, the Phius standard can be applied in climate zones throughout the world. It adjusts targets to the “sweet spot” in each zone that represents maximum conservation at practical cost.

Passive House Certification Training FAQ

Where to start?

There are two Passive House entities: Passive House Institute (“PHI”) and Phius. Both are non-profit member organizations.

Learn more from Passive House Institute
Learn more from Phius

Why are there two?

The building standard we know today started in Germany with Dr. Wolfgang Feist, a German physicist, and Dr. Bo Adamson, a Swedish scientist, developing the principles and techniques for “passivhaus” to achieve very low heating consumption. Feist later founded the Passive House Institute (PHI) in Darmstadt in 1996 after a pilot project – the Kranichstein Passive House – of a multi-family house. Since then, the standard has evolved, and there are Passive Houses on at least 5 continents, the majority in Europe.

The Passive House Network (PHN), formerly known as NAPHN, is an iPHA affiliate of Passive House Institute (PHI) and supports and practices the PHI standard in the US.

Phius (initially known as Passive House Institute U.S or PHIUS) is a leading certifier of passive house projects, trains architects and builders, and conducts advanced building science research. Phius was founded to combat climate change by making passive building practices the mainstream market standard. Phius developed the first climate-specific, cost-optimized passive house standard in 2015. Although it was initially designed for North America, the Phius standard can be applied in climate zones throughout the world. It adjusts targets to the “sweet spot” in each zone that represents maximum conservation at practical cost.

PHI buildings database
Phius buildings database
More backstory here and here

Does one credential work for both building standards?

No. PHI and Phius are separate entities. E.g., a PHI-certified CPHD cannot apply for a Phius project certification.

Which to choose?

Both are great organizations. Both offer comparable training and certifications. Phius focuses on North America, while PHI is international. Ask other certified Passive House professionals to learn why they chose one over the other.

How do I become a Passive House professional?

PHI Certified Passive House Designer/Consultant (CPHD/C)
– Either pass an exam or design a certified Passive House.

PHI Cer­ti­fied Pass­ive House Trades­per­son (CPHT)
– Pass an exam

Phius Certified Passive House Consultant (CPHC®)
Phius Certified Passive House Builder (CPHB)
Phius Certified Rater
Phius Certified Verifier

– Pass an exam

Which credential?

PHI and Phius

If you are an architect or engineer, or similar building professional, become a PHI Certified Passive House Designer or a Phius CPHC® (Certified Passive House Consultant).

If you are a designer (i.e. you do not hold an architecture degree) or non-specialized professional, become a PHI Certified Passive House Consultant or a Phius CPHC® (Certified Passive House Consultant).

If you’re a builder, become a PHI Certified Passive House Tradesperson or a Phius Certified Passive House Builder .

If you’re a tradesperson, become a PHI Certified Passive House Tradesperson  or a Phius Certified Passive House Builder .

Which training path?

Once you determine whether to align with PHI or Phius, and which credential is appropriate for you, sign up for training (if you aren’t taking the practical route).

Check the calendar for upcoming trainings.

Most training courses offer AIA and their own CEUs; some include BPI, LEED, etc.

 

What course options are there?

PHI courses have live-online, on-demand, hybrid on-demand + live online, and in-person options. They are offered by various entities:
• Certified Passive House Designer/Consultant trainings by Passive House Network, Peel Passive House, and others.
• Certified Passive House Tradesperson trainings by EMU.

Phius courses typically have two phases – Phase I is to be completed independently prior to beginning Phase II. Phius provides their own education and occasionally offers in-person trainings at Yestermorrow in Vermont.

 

Not a designer or builder, but still want to be a Passive House professional?

Become a rater or verifier. Both PHI and Phius require third-party testing for quality assurance and building certification. You can become aPHI Passive House Certifier, a Phius + Rater (single family residential), or a Phius + Verifier (large-scale multi-family and commercial). 

This looks expensive.

The sponsors of Energize Connecticut are offering a 75% cost reimbursement for PHI and Phius professional accreditation trainings for consultants, builders, architects, tradespersons, raters and verifiers. Eligible upon successful accreditation (i.e. passing the exam) through PHI or Phius.

Learn more about the Passive House and All Electric Homes Homes Initiative.

Ask your employer to invest the other 25% in you:

  • Download our Employee Investment Infosheet.
  • Passive House is at the core of where our future built environment needs to go.
  • Puts your workforce at the forefront of sustainable design.
  • Having Passive House expertise within your practice is a clear demonstration of a commitment to energy efficiency, fuel poverty reduction, and taking action on climate change.
  • Learn skills to achieve carbon footprint reduction and zero energy design.
  • Passive House is a proven mechanism for achieving construction quality and low-energy design.
  • It’s a standard that helps ensure you get what you pay for, which is very attractive to clients.
  • There are specific client bases for Passive House; it is a niche market to tap.
  • Understanding of building science and how that knowledge can be used to provide clients with a superior overall product, Passive House or not.
  • Based on the rate of Passive House projects winning design awards, including Passing House design principles into projects is perceived as “raising the bar” on high performance.
  • Passive House is where the industry is headed. Having certified Passive House professionals on board indicates leadership in the industry, and preparedness to meet clients’ expectations.
  • If your Connecticut-based firm doesn’t have someone on staff who is familiar or trained in Passive House, you risk falling behind.

News

Passive House 101 (2024)

Published

An overview of the Passive House building standard including certification metrics, common design elements, and...

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