New partnership aims to drive more efficient, comfortable buildings

A new partnership aims to drive the uptake of more efficient and comfortable buildings in Australia.

The Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) the Passive House Institute (PHI), and the Australian Passive House Association (APHA) have agreed to work together to promote ultra-low energy buildings.

Passive House (Passivhaus) is a voluntary building standard that delivers comfortable, energy efficient and affordable buildings – of all types – that require little energy for heating or cooling. A typical Passive House uses 80 per cent less energy than standard practice.

“The Green Building Council of Australia recognises that the Passive House approach delivers an integrated approach to thermally-comfortable, super-efficient buildings,” says the GBCA’s Head of Market Transformation, Jorge Chapa.

“Passive House demonstrates that we can deliver high levels of comfort and efficiency without significant increases to costs. As our industry works towards a carbon zero future, Passive House buildings play an important role.

“Our goal is to recognise Passive House certified buildings within Green Star to deliver a better built environment. We will be working together to provide the industry with guidance on how buildings with Passive House certification can achieve Green Star credits, because we want more buildings to meet Passive House benchmarks,” Mr Chapa adds.

The two organisations will work together to develop guidelines and co-host 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, says the new partnership signals “exciting times” ahead as the two organisations work to “integrate a pathway for Passive House buildings into Green Star”.

“Up until recently, Passive House buildings have been the focus of passionate residential building owners looking for great designs that address both comfort and costs. As a result, we have more than 80,000 Passive House buildings around the world – and they are found everywhere from the cold climates of Canada to the scorching heat of Dubai.

“Today, the growing number of project teams working with Passive House is a sure sign of the future potential of ultra-low energy buildings,” Mr O’Dea concludes.

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.