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Effective Path to Passive House Standards

May 19, 2017

One of the key components of the Passive House Institute U.S. (PHIUS) standards is a tight building envelope. There are many paths to achieve the standard, confirmed with a blower door test to measure the air changes per hour that a home can acheive.

In a multifamily housing project in Vermont, a blower door test made a believer out of the architect.

When Michael Wisniewski of Duncan Wisniewski Architecture saw a simulated blower door test demonstration at a local Passive House consulting group, he switched to ZIP System sheathing and tape for 30 units of affordable, senior housing in Milton, Vermont.

A tight building envelope is essential for energy-efficient structures that pass Passive House Institute U.S. (PHIUS) standards. ZIP System sheathing and tape is a better continuous barrier than OSB and housewrap, which was crucial in getting Passive House designation (dependent on low air exchange) for Elm Place, the first multi-family passive house in Vermont.

“In the past, we typically used a combination of oriented-strand board (OSB) and housewrap with blown-in insulation to achieve energy efficiency,” said Wisniewski. “We were kind of learning. But, we realized that if you really put pressure on traditional methods, air can transfer through the building envelope.”

The Huber ZIP System sheathing and tape is an structural roof and wall system with an integrated water resistant and air barrier that streamlines the weatherization process and transforms it with a simple two-step installation. The panels are fastened to framing just like any other sheathing. Then the seams are taped to provide an air and moisture barrier. The taping can be a one-person job.

“After seeing the results of the blower door test, we switched to ZIP System sheathing and tape to provide a continuous air barrier on our builds,” Wisneiewski added.

This blog was developed by Huber Engineered Woods. All posts, sponsored and un-sponsored have been reviewed and approved by the Sustainable Community Media Editorial Team to ensure quality, relevance/usefulness and objectivity.


Topics: Building Green, Certification / LEED, Lumber and Structured Panels, Roofing, Thermal Envelope

Companies: Huber Engineered Woods


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