PHIUS+ Standard Specification

Climate Data Points - New Climate Specific Passive Building Standard


In cooperation with Building Science Corporation under a U.S. DOE Building America Grant, the PHIUS Technical Committee has developed passive building standards that account for the broad range of climate conditions, market conditions and other variables in North American climate zones. Here's what passive designers and builders need to know:

  • The three-year study yielded a formula that has been used to generate cost-optimized performance targets for more than 1,000 locations. These metrics represent the "sweet spot" where aggressive carbon and energy reduction overlap with cost-effectiveness. (Use the accompanying map to find performance targets in your area).
  • PHIUS+ 2015 provides a cost-effective platform for attaining Net Zero and Net Positive buildings, and certified projects also earn U.S. DOE Zero Energy Ready status.
  • The research has been refined based on U.S. DOE peer review and public comment. The PHIUS Technical Committee will update the formula in three to five-year cycles to reflect changing economic, climate and other variables. Read the final report.
  • Read PHIUS Senior Scientist Graham Wright's blog for more on the development of the standard--you can comment and ask questions there, too.

Additional recognition will be given to project designs that meet the regular requirements and also achieve any of the following performance goals:


The design is supply air heating and cooling sufficient per WUFI Passive / PHPP static calculation, with average design ventilation rate no more than 0.4 ACH. This is accomplished with low peak load design.


To meet the Source Net Zero badge, the building must generate as much energy as it uses on an annual, source-energy basis.

The Department of Energy is now promoting PHIUS+ project certification as the highest attainable level of energy efficiency as part of its program suites.

The PHIUS+ certification program for projects has been growing exponentially over the past 5 years. The affordable multifamily passive building sector is, in particular, growing very quickly. As of 2016, 1,000,000 square feet of certified and pre-certified (under construction) projects nationwide have been recorded with PHIUS.


All of the following requirements need to be met to achieve PHIUS+ Certification. The specific energy targets for the project will be determined by the location of the project. See PHIUS' clickable map to determine criteria for your location.

  Heating Demand/Load* Cooling Demand/Load* AIR-TIGHTNESS (cfm50/sf envelope) Source Energy Demand Renewable Generation for Source Zero 
SINGLE FAMILY 1 - 16.8 kBTU/ft2.yr 0 - 7.6 BTU/hr.ft2    1 - 23.4 kBTU/ft2.yr 1.3 - 9.5 BTU/hr.ft2   0.05  6200 kWh/person.yr >6200 kWh/person.yr
COMMERCIAL 38 kBTU/ft2.yr >38 kBTU/ft2.yr
MULTIFAMILY 0.08**  6200 kWh/person.yr / 38 kBTU/ft2.yr  >6200 kWh/person.yr / >38 kBTU/ft2.yr
RETROFIT As above, + allowance for existing thermal bridges As above, + allowance for existing thermal bridges 0.05
*Based on climate specific targets for each individual project
**Buildings with 5 stories+, non-combustible construction

main performance criteria for certification


  • Moisture design criteria for assemblies and details
  • Quality-related prescriptive design elements
  • Field quality assurance inspections
  • Contractor declaration

contact us to learn more about the PHIUS+2015 standard!