Making Passive House Standard

Hear from a leading design firm on how they successfully implemented passive house strategies on a number of their large scale urban buildings.


Buildings are responsible for a significant chunk of our world's carbon emissions and their rate of impact is particularly high in dense, diverse, and culturally rich urban environments. In response, New York (among other cities) is seeing an uptick in low-energy, high-performance building standards, predominantly Passive House, for their large multifamily and mixed-use buildings. While Passive House can certainly be a powerful tool in combating global warming, buildings constructed to meet this standard have also proven to provide tenants with safer, more resilient, healthier living environments that are also more affordable to operate and maintain.

Taking from the initial successes in NYC, are we able to scale up Passive House construction in our urban areas and beyond? Do technologies exist that will allow us to seamlessly, and affordably, transition to a low-carbon future for our built environment? Can we make Passive House standard?

In this session we will hear from a leading design firm on how they successfully implemented passive house strategies on a number of their large scale urban buildings. We will explore the technologies they adopted and take a close look at the products that have helped them to transition, both seamlessly and affordably, to make passive house principles standard in their practice.

Learning objectives

  • Learn varied methods and concepts of how to apply the Passive House Design standard to large, multi-story buildings, including material selection.
  • Learn the difference between prescriptive and performance-based design standards, and specifically how the Passive House performance-based standard allows the design team flexibility during the architectural process to respond to various program requirements, client expectations, and construction budgets.
  • Learn how the challenges and lessons learned from The House at Cornell Tech were applied to the design and construction for Sendero Verde, Winthrop Center, and University of Toronto Scarborough. The lessons will focus on the exterior envelope design, interior air quality and occupant comfort, HVAC systems, and how total energy demand is lowered in large buildings (>200,000 SF).
  • Learn about the challenges presented by designing extremely energy-efficient buildings and how they can be effectively addressed with readily available products and technologies. In particular, they will discover some innovative stone wool solutions that can be applied to solve these design challenges.

This session was recorded live on September 28, 2021.

This free course is brought to you through a partnership with Rockwool. By registering for this course, you grant AIA permission to share your name and email address with Rockwool.

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  • Todd Kimmel Headshot

    Todd Kimmel

    Architectural Manager | Rockwool

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    Ryan Lobello


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