According to an historical review posted in Passipedia, “the Passive House principle was not ‘invented’ by anyone – in fact, the Passive House principle was discovered.” The underlying scientific principles used in many parts of the globe were simply synthesized and codified into the term that now interchangeably describes the high performance building philosophy, methodology and certification globally referred to as “Passive House” (or “Passivhaus.”)
Although the concept of this methodology is documented to have existed in various forms, the codification of the methodology and certification was developed in Germany in the early 1990s by Professors Bo Adamson of Sweden and Wolfgang Feist of Germany. Drawing on studies conducted in Sweden, Super-insulated and Passive Solar experiments from North America and “Low Energy” European building standards, the concept of a building that could be practically constructed to maintain a comfortable interior climate without conventional heating or cooling systems was devised, tested and proven. The Passive House remains comfortable principally by
In 1996, Dr. Feist founded the Passivhaus Institut in Darmstadt, Germany, to develop and promote the Passive House Standard using the tool developed to enable these buildings to be consitantly replicated: the Passive House Planning Package (PHPP.) Since then, more than 40,000 Passive House buildings have been constructed worldwide. The first Passive House in North America was built in Urbana, Illinois, in 2003 by German architect Katrin Klingenberg.
The development of Passive House in North America has experienced a bumpy ride. The original training and certification entity operating in the US had their contract to certify to the Passive House Standard revoked in 2011. The PHCA Board offers this timeline below as a simplified way for our members to understand an unfortunate series of events.
Passive House Institute (PHI) and Passive House Institute, US (PHIUS) Legal Action History (Updated: May, 2014)
- 2007: PHI files a trademark ‘Passive House Institute.’ (APPROVED: May 26, 2009.)
- 2008: PHI files a word trademark: ‘PHPP’ (APPROVED: Jan.19, 2010)
- 2009: PHIUS files to trademark ‘Certified Passive House.’ (Abandoned: Oct.26, 2009)
- 2009: PHIUS files to trademark ‘Passive House Institute US’ (Abandoned: Jan.5, 2010)
- 2009: PHIUS files to trademark ‘PHIUS’ mark: (APPROVED: Mar.2, 2010)
- 2009: PHIUS files to trademark ‘PassivHaus Bau’: (APPROVED: July 26,2011)
- 2010: PHIUS files to trademark ‘CPHC’: (Abandoned: Dec.14, 2010)
- 2011: PHI revokes PHIUS Contract to certify projects under the PHI banner.
- 2012: PHIUS files to trademark ‘CPHC’: (APPROVED: Aug.21, 2012)
- 2012: PHIUS files lawsuit against EcoSmart Building LLC and George Sullivan (former PHIUS Board Member) for trademark infringement
- 2012: PHIUS issues letter to New York Passive House, (NYPH) threatening legal action.
- 2012: NYPH responds to PHIUS letter.
- 2012: PHIUS issues letter to Passive House Academy, (PHA) threatening legal action. (PHA ignores PHIUS.)
- 2012: PHI files to trademark ’Certified Passive House’ (Filed: March 29, 2012.)
- 2014: PHIUS files opposition to trademark application from PHI.
- 2014: PHI abandons ‘Certified Passive House’ trademark application (April 24, 2014.)