A new partnership between the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) and the Passive House Institute (PHI) will boost the passive house (passivhaus) building approach in Australia. The partnership will encourage the future development of ultra-low energy buildings.

The passive house conceot is a voluntary building standard that delivers comfortable, energy-efficient and affordable buildings. Homes designed to 'passivhaus' specifications use up to 80 percent less energy than conventional buildings.

According to the GBCA’s head of market transformation, Jorge Chapa, passive house is an integrated solution to providing thermally-comfortable, energy-efficient buildings.

GBCA’s goal is to recognise passive house-certified buildings within Green Star, which will contribute to a better overall built environment.

Chapa said that GBCA and PHI organisations will be working together to provide the industry with guidance on how buildings with a passive house certification can achieve Green Star credits. This will include developing guidelines and co-hosting professional development opportunities, such as site tours and workshops.

The partnership comes after the GBCA proposed an update to the Green Star – Design & As Built rating tool, which would recognise a new passive house pathway to achieve ‘Greenhouse Gas Emissions’ and ‘Thermal Comfort’ credits.

APHA’s chairperson, Darren O’Dea, said the two organisations will work to “integrate a pathway for passive house buildings into Green Star”.

Until recently, passive house buildings have been the focus of individual residential building owners looking for designs that address both comfort and costs. There are more than 80,000 passive house buildings around the world, from the cold climates of Canada to the scorching heat of Dubai.

O’Dea said that the growing number of project teams working with passive house is a sure sign of the future potential of ultra-low energy buildings.

The GBCA has already established partnerships with the International WELL Building Institute, the International Living Futures Institute and the Living Future Institute Australia to align credits under the Green Star, WELL Building Standard and Living Building Challenge rating systems.