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What does this acronym stand for? It is in every passive house expert’s vocabulary: the Passive House Planning Package or Passivhaus-Projektierungspaket – Germans like their extra long words.

It is a massive excel spread sheet that according to the Passivhaus Institut in Darmstadt ” is an easy to use planning tool for energy efficiency for the use of architects and planning experts”. Basically it is an energy balance calculation in excel: it adds up all the energy losses in the building on one side and the energy gains like solar heat gains, appliances, people on the other side. The difference is your heating demand. This is a very simplified explanation….. There is a 260 page manual that comes with it as well. But trying to navigate this tool for the first time is a bit intimidating to say the least.

Luckily when you buy the software you get one version of the spreadsheet completed with the data of the very first Passivhaus in Darmstadt, Germany, a great reference for beginners. One cool thing to do is to change the climate data from Germany to Canada.  Often I get asked, does Passiv House even work here in Canada, where its is much colder that in Germany? What do you think? Well, it is actually easier to do a passive house here in Ottawa than it is in Germany. The weather in Germany in January or February often is overcast, grey and around 1 degree. Not very pleasant to do anything and certainly no sun to provide any heat gain for a house. Here in Ottawa on the contrary we get a lot of very cold (freezing!!) days with blue skies and a lot of sunshine. Great for heating up the building. The heating demand drops from 13 kWh/ (m² a) in Darmstadt down to 12  kWh/(m² a) in Ottawa.

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