A recent update to the Passivhaus standard saw the introduction of Passive House Classes. These classes represent three new levels of Passivhaus: Classic, Plus & Premium. As you might expect they reflect three levels of energy performance. Classic is essentially the original standard. Plus and Premium are awarded when the building has an even lower energy demand and generates more energy than it consumes!

Passivhaus Classes – read the image left to right... a Plus certified building must generate more than 60 kWh/m2a of energy while consuming less than 45 kWh/m2a; a net surplus of 15 kWh/m2a.

The criteria for the space heating demand and airtightness remain unchanged; the primary energy demand has been replaced by the renewable primary energy demand (PER demand) which assumes fossil fuel energy sources are no longer used.

Depending on the level sought (Classic, Plus or Premium), to achieve Passivhaus standard, a building must meet the following energy performance criteria:

  • renewable primary energy demand is the total energy (from renewables sources) consumed for all requirements (i.e. space heating, water heating, ventilation and all electricity use):
    • Classic     ≤ 60kWh/m2a
    • Plus         ≤ 45kWh/m2a
    • Premium     ≤ 30kWh/m2a 
  • renewable energy generation (with reference to ground area):
    • Premium     ≥ 120kWh/m2a
    • Plus         ≥ 60kWh/m2a
    • Classic     none

When compared to the NZEB goal of 'nearly zero energy buildings' the idea that Passivhaus aims to brings into being buildings that are net producers of energy demonstrates just how far ahead the Passivhaus standard is of the European standard and practice.