Passive House Institute US (PHIUS)

PHIUS released the PHIUS+2015 Passive Building Standard in March of 2015, the only passive building standard on the market based upon climate-specific comfort and performance criteria, and the only passive building standard that requires onsite QA/QC for certification.

Developed in cooperation with Building Science Corporation under a US Department of Energy (DOE) grant, the PHIUS+2015 standard targets the sweet spot between investment and payback to present an affordable solution to achieving the most comfortable and cost-effective building possible and the best path for achieving zero energy and carbon.  Buildings designed and built to this standard perform 60-85% better (depending on climate zone and building type) on an energy consumption basis when compared to a code compliant building (International Energy Conservation Code IECC 2009).

 More About The Certification

PHIUS+ Certified and Pre-Certified projects now total more than 1 million square feet across 1,200 units nationwide.  The cost-optimized PHIUS+2015 Standard is spurring new growth in passive buildings from coast to coast, with the most significant gains coming from the multifamily housing sector. 

1. Explain briefly, what is the basic certification process (application, inspection, completion)?

Please refer to certification process checklist
 for a description of the certification process.

2. Approximately how long does it take for a home to get certified?

Working with the project team to provide iterative feedback on the design, PHIUS+ 2015 Pre-Certification can be achieved in about 3-6 months.  Once construction has been completed and PHIUS has received all completed documentation, including the PHIUS Rater’s QA/QC documentation, full certification can be achieved in about 1 month.

3. What is the cost for a single-family home?  

The costs for certification are based upon the square footage.  Please refer to the information below, found here

Fee Structure:

Discounted fees are available for PHIUS CPHCs and PHAUS members. Learn more about PHAUS membership.

PHIUS CPHCs who are also PHAUS Pro-level members:
iCFA = interior conditioned floor area
0 - 2500 sq. ft. iCFA - $1,080
2,501 - 4,500 sq. ft. iCFA - $1,480

PHIUS CPHCs, Certified Builders, CPHCs-in-training or Builders-in-training (but not a PHAUS member): 
0 - 2500 sq. ft. - $1,282.50
2,501 - 4,500 sq. ft. - $1,757.50

Standard Fees--Project Owner, Non-CPHC
0 - 2500 sq. ft. - $1,350.00
2,500 - 4,500 sq. ft. - $1,850.00

For Projects above 4501 SF iCFA, or for unique building types, please contact [email protected] for pricing.
Non-profit organizations such as Habitat for Humanity are eligible for a larger discount.  Contact us for details.
Note: These fees do not include PHIUS+ Rater fees.  Project teams must contract separately with a PHIUS+ Rater.
4. What makes you different from other certifications?

In contrast to the Passivhaus Standard developed by the German Passivhaus Institute, which takes a one-size-fits-all approach to energy metrics, the climate-optimized PHIUS+ 2015 Passive Building Standard is the first and only passive building standard in the world based upon climate-specific comfort and performance criteria aimed at presenting an affordable solution to achieving the most durable, resilient, and energy-efficient building possible for a specific location.

5. Do you focus primarily on energy efficiency or multiple elements for certification, and what are they? 

For a building to achieve certification under the climate-specific PHIUS+ 2015 Passive Building Standard, it must be designed and constructed so that it meets our strict energy performance metrics and airtightness requirements. 

All PHIUS+ 2015 projects also achieve:

1) Third-party RESNET-approved quality assurance/quality control;
2) U.S. DOE Zero Energy Ready Home status;
3) HERS rating.  While our certification program specifically addresses energy efficiency and performance, it is complementary to other green building certification programs that address materials, water, and other factors beyond the energy performance of the project.  For more information

6. Approximately how many certifications have been completed?

There are a total of 183 PHIUS+ certified projects. PHIUS+ Certified and Pre-Certified projects now total 1.1 million square feet across 1,200 units.

7. Please describe the region you cover, if not national. 

We are based in the US, but have certified projects throughout North America (US and Canada) as well as in Japan, Korea, and Israel.  With the climate-specific PHIUS+ 2015 standard, the standard is relevant to all climate zones. 

8. Are renovations/remodels eligible for certification, or is it primarily new construction? 

The majority of projects we see are new construction, however renovations to existing buildings are eligible for and have been certified under our program in the past.

9. Any other information you’d like to share?

Buildings designed and built to this standard consume 86% less energy for heating and 46% less energy for cooling (depending on climate zone and building type) when compared to a code-compliant building (International Energy Conservation Code IECC 2009), resulting in an overall site Energy Use Intensity (EUI) of approximately 10-20 kBTU/ft2 year.  Thus, these buildings can achieve net-zero energy performance levels with the addition of a modest sized renewable energy system.
Despite its name, the PHIUS+ 2015 standard is not limited to houses but can be applied to buildings of all use types.