Numerous mandatory energy efficiency building standards and rating systems have been developed globally. The International Passive House Standard is a voluntary alternative, but there is little data on the performance of houses built to this standard in Australia. One house in suburban Canberra demonstrates that the Passive House Standard can be used to build high-performance houses with predictable outcomes. Extreme energy efficiency and occupant comfort were key performance objectives in building the three-bedroom house. Like most energy efficient housing projects in Australia, the building was designed to take advantage of solar gain, thermal mass and cross flow ventilation, but what set this project and all Passive House projects apart was the careful attention to airtightness, mechanical ventilation, avoidance of thermal bridging and the use of energy modelling tools at the design stage.
The result was a house that required virtually no heating in winter despite frosty -2°C mornings; no artificial cooling in summer despite 37°C days and; overall consumed 64% less energy than similar households in the same city. Energy consumption, temperature and CO2 levels have been monitored and confirm exceptional levels of comfort and indoor air quality. The total energy consumed was within 12% of predicted values thus supporting the effectiveness of the Passive House Standard.
Keywords: energy efficiency, comfort, monitoring, Passive House