The World's Leading Building Energy Standard

The most comfortable, economical and energy efficient building building in the world.

Passive House aims to reduce energy in buildings by up to 90% while providing superior comfort and indoor environmental quality. It successfully insulates the owner from ongoing utility costs with measurable performance. When combined with renewable energy systems such as solar photovoltaic or solar thermal, Passive House puts true zero energy buildings and carbon neutrality within reach, making Passive House the leapfrog building design approach.

Passive House in the Woods southwest perspective

Passive House in the Woods, the first certified Passive House in Wisconsin

Passive House (pas′iv-ho̵us) for New Construction Projects

The name Passive House is derived from the German term “Passivhaus”, which describes a building with virtually no heating system (passive heating), versus a conventional building a with large heating system (active).

Active versus passive

Active versus passive approach; source: Krapmeier & Drössler 2001

Energy Conservation First

Passive House is an “energy conservation first” approach. The basic idea is to radically minimize heat loss through effective heat retention, and maximize passive solar and internal heat gains. In our local climate, the sun can provide up to 50% of the energy needed to heat a Passive House. Internal heat gains provide an additional 15%, making a traditional heating system with furnace or boiler obsolete.

Super insulated walls and triple-pane windows allow the house to maintain a constant, comfortable temperature.

Gas Mileage for Buildings

The Passive House building energy standard introduces a gas mileage rating system for buildings. It is measured in kBtu per square foot of treated floor area and year in the U.S. The limit for heating and cooling energy is 4.75kBtu—a reduction of up to 90% over conventional buildings. Source energy accounted for at the utility company is limited to 38kBtu per square foot and year. This represents an 80% reduction.

For its leapfrog approach to building and outstanding performance, the European Union is now recommending Passive House performance as code for its members by the middle of this decade.

Predictable Performance

Designs are modeled with a scientific energy modeling software called the “Passive House Planning Package”, and field tested for various parameters during and after construction. Design and field testing are submitted to the Passive House Institute U.S. for certification. Using the PHPP allows us to design predictable performance for our clients, which sets us apart from the competition.

A blower door test checks the air tightness–a key component in maintaining a comfortable temperature–by sealing the door, applying pressure to the space, and checking for leaks with smoke.


EnerPHit for Retrofit Projects

EnerPHit logo

At TE Studio we often combine remodels, additions, and other deferred maintenance upgrades with an energy retrofit for a holistic design that brings your project up to cutting edge levels of design and performance. We use Passive House tools to generate predictable results, and take great care to enhance what’s good while solving what is not.

A comprehensive retrofit project aims to provide you with lower utility bills, a significantly reduced energy footprint, more comfort, better indoor environmental quality, more durability and less maintenance in a functional and beautiful environment. Whether you are looking to remodel a little or go all the way, we can help you assess your current building, and work with you to arrive at a design solution that fits your needs today and in the future.

Learn more about retrofitting

Deep Energy Reduction Retrofit with Passive House Tools – A Primer

An EnerPHit home will be 4-6 times more energy efficient than a conventionally built new home.  Because the standard is for existing housing stock, it’s entirely possible that a remodeled home will perform at 10X its previous efficiency. EnerPHit is an official standard maintained by the Passive House Institute that we offer to our clients. At TE Studio, we designed the first EnerPHit (Passive House Retrofit) project in North America.


TE Studio: Certified Passive House™ Consulting

The Passive House Standard is the most rigorous building energy standard in the world. Consultants, projects or building components that have obtained the right to carry the logo have committed themselves to design excellence and the Passive House energy performance criteria.


Learn more about Passive House

The Passive House brochure

Passive House Primer

Passive House Benefits

Passive House Metrics

What does a Passive House cost?

Energy Independence with Passive House

Passive House vs. Passive Solar Design



Official Passive House Websites


PHI (Passiv Haus Institut)

PHIUS (Passive House Institute U.S.)

International Passive House Association

Passive House Alliance

Passive House Minnesota