Passive House (also known as Passivhaus where it originated in Germany) is an international method or technical standard of designing and constructing a building to achieve a very high level of energy-efficiency (with little or no heating or cooling required). Passivhaus buildings are the most comfortable, healthy, durable and efficient buildings in the world!
It is not to be confused with solar passive heating (which includes orientation/natural ventilation/insulation/shading/thermal mass etc.) although most of these principles can still play a part in the overall design.
It is a method of designing and thinking, perfect for any climate in Aotearoa wether it be cool and dry or damp and warm.
It is not an architectural style, but more concerned with the building science of how the building is put together and how it performs - and has a rigourous and robust thermal-modelling to ensure quality-assurance of the result. This means you are not really restricted by how you want your home to look and feel.
A home is one of the largest investments we will make, and we're finding more and more people want to ensure they are getting what they are paying for! The passivhaus thermal modelling has been proven to be very accurate in terms of understanding heating and cooling requirements, in addition to ensuring high quality indoor environment (healthy air quality with low C02 levels, ideal temperature and humidity levels, and no condensation/mould-growth) - all with minimal heating/cooling requirements and savings.
Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for relying solely on the NatHERS 7-star-rating system... it's all educated guesswork if the home performs as predicted. Do you want to leave it up to chance?
Courtesy of Hans Jorn-Eich, here a 90 second explainer of these concepts:
THE BASIC ELEMENTS OF A PASSIVHAUS:
What's the real reason people love living in Passivhaus homes?
They are so comfortable and healthy, providing year-round comfort for New Zealand homes! They stay a passively comfortable temperature all year round, with no cold drafts and no cold surfaces (even in the middle of winter) - this seems almost unimaginable when around 90% of our housing stock are essentially "wooden tents"! There is also a very real and frightening issue with the indoor air quality of many of our current buildings - which includes the high levels of pollutants, dustmites, chemicals, and mould... that many occupants breathe in everyday (this is causing a lot of ill-health effects). A passivhaus provides a constant supply of fresh filtered air, and is calculated with building physics to ensure a healthy indoor environment that is much better for our well-being.