Asa Foss

Project teams pursuing Passive House US certification may now use the performance standard to earn credit toward LEED certification.

Passive House US (PHIUS) is an excellent complement to LEED v4 Building Design and Construction (BD+C). Through Passive House, builders are challenged to design for climate-specific comfort and performance. Through LEED, builders are challenged to reduce impacts in energy, water, waste, transportation and more, while investing in innovation and regional priorities.

Projects that earn certification with LEED and Passive House US represent the very best of energy- and environment-sensitive American homes, and this alignment unlocks the potential for many more dual-certified projects.

Project teams that are considering pursuing PHIUS certification may now use this third-party-verified home performance standard to earn credit toward LEED certification. This alignment offers builders and developers greater opportunity to more cost-effectively apply the best practices and verification strengths of both Passive House and LEED to produce high-performing, green homes for families all across the United States.

As part of the October 2016 addenda release, USGBC introduced Passive House US alternative compliance path for North America, which allows projects to leverage their PHIUS label to earn points toward LEED v4 certification under LEED v4 BD+C: Homes. A January 2019 addenda release rewards certified Passive House projects using LEED v4 BD+C: Midrise or LEED v4 BD+C New Construction.

Single Family and Low-Rise Multifamily

By earning the PHIUS certificate, projects can be awarded a minimum of 31.5 points in LEED v4 BD+C: Homes, as well as most prerequisites in the Energy and Atmosphere and Indoor Environmental Quality credit categories. Additional points can be earned by demonstrating achievement of a HERS Index score of 40 or better. Projects must earn at least 40 points in LEED to earn the first of four rungs of certification: Certified (40), Silver (50), Gold (60) and Platinum (80).

Credit-specific details

PHIUS-certified projects automatically earn 20 points in EA Annual energy use (20 points).

Because PHIUS projects must also earn the DOE ZERH label, they automatically meet the following LEED v4 Homes credits and prerequisites, as specified in Interpretation 10431:

PHIUS and DOE ZERH projects also meet the requirements of all credits and prerequisites deemed equivalent to the EPA Indoor airPLUS program, which include:

Multifamily Midrise and Highrise

USGBC has approved an equivalency to 90.1-2010 that allows certified multifamily Passive House projects to get rewarded without having to complete a 90.1 energy model. Projects may elect to complete a 90.1 energy model if they would like to earn additional credit.

By earning the PHIUS certificate, projects are able to claim the following savings in LEED v4 BD+C: Midrise in EA Annual energy use or LEED v4 BD+C: New Construction in EA Optimize energy performance.

Percent Above ASHRAE 90.1-2010

  • Climate Zones 1A, 2A: 24%
  • Climate Zones 2B, 3B: 27%
  • Climate Zones 3A, 4: 31%
  • Climate Zones 4C, 5: 30%
  • Climate Zones 6, 7, 8: 38%

Midrise: These savings earn multifamily projects in climate zones 1A, 2A, 17 points in EA Annual energy use; in climate zones 2B, 3B, projects earn 18 points; in climate zones 3, 4, 5, projects earn 20 points; in climate zones 6, 7, 8, projects earn 22 points.

New Construction: These savings earn multifamily projects in climate zones 1A, 2A, 10 points in EA Optimize energy performance;in climate zones 2B, 3B, projects earn 11 points; in climate zones 3, 4, 5, projects earn 12 points; in climate zones 6, 7, 8, projects earn 15 points.