Policymakers and Passive Building


Passive House Institute US (PHIUS) has designed a variety of tools to help policymakers, housing agencies, and energy program managers incentivize passive buildings.


Housing Agencies can get a low-cost peek into the possibilities

During the initial RFP phase, program managers can take advantage of PHIUS’ inexpensive feasibility study by requiring applicants to submit their initial schematic designs to PHIUS as part of the proposal to have reasonable assurance that a project will be able to meet the passive building performance standards.

Once projects are selected, and funding awarded, the program manager can verify that a project's enrollment in the certification program through the PHIUS Projects Database, which lists all registered projects with their level of progress, and certification status.

Before embarking on the development of a passive building incentive program, program managers should first familiarize themselves with the design and certification process for passive buildings.


Policymakers get assured results from energy efficiency incentives

To reduce the risk of buildings not living up to their hopes, PHIUS recommends that passive building incentive programs require full PHIUS+ certification.

  • PHIUS+ protocols are the only passive building certification that requires industry-accepted best practices and building science according to the Department of Energy
  • PHIUS+ is the only passive building certification that integrates a third-party quality assurance/quality control (QA/QC) requirement. The rigorous QA/QC process associated with full certification verifies that built projects achieve modeled levels of performance, thereby assuring program managers of reaching their program goals.

Many programs across the country now provide passive building incentives:

  • The Enterprise Foundation delivers incentives for PHIUS+ certification under the 2015 Green Communities Criteria used by affordable housing agencies in 22 states and various local housing finance agencies.
  • Major cities like New York City, San Francisco, and Seattle directly encourage developers to pursue PHIUS+ certification
  • Seattle includes PHIUS+ certification in their Priority Green Expedited permit-expediting program
  • NYC Housing Preservation & Development (HPD) organization in the development of their SustaiNYC RFP
  • Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation in the development of their Net Zero Energy Building Program


PHIUS+ is more likely to be understood by local building officials

The PHIUS+ Standard is being called the 'next level of high-performance building standards' by the US Department of Energy (DOE) because DOE's extensive climate-based building science research laid the groundwork for PHIUS+.

PHIUS+ certification requires that projects also comply with DOE-accepted performance practices including the US Environmental Protection Agency’s Indoor airPLUS and WaterSense programs. 

PHIUS+ certified residential projects also qualify for the DOE’s Zero Energy Ready Home program.

By incorporating these programs that are widely accepted by ASHRAE, ICC, DOE, and other Government and professional organizations, we have cleared many of the hurdles perceived to accompany passive building. 

Reach out to us for assistance or feedback on your program design. We are here to help!

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