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The Main Difference Between a Passive House and a Near or Net Zero Energy House

Given the recent developments in European legislation on energy efficiency, the theme of near or Net Zero energy buildings has become a hot topic.

In a market that tends to interchange names, definitions, and standards of construction, we propose a reflection on the difference between a Passive House and a Near or Net Zero Energy building.

We especially want to refer to the article published by the Italian blog, which we invite you to read in English.

From our humble little blog, we would like to make our contribution to this discussion, emphasizing the profound difference between a Passive House and a building at Near or Net Zero Energy.

As for a Passive House, the crux around which the whole concept pivots is the subject of thermo-hygrometric comfort for users, for both winter and summer, which is guaranteed by the building envelope. (Note: In a Passive House, controlled mechanical ventilation is considered part of the house).

In a Near or Net Zero Energy building — as suggests the term itself — the primary concern is the final energy balance, considering both the building envelope and any renewable energy sources. In our opinion, this approach takes the emphasis off of the main objective – thermal comfort for the people living in the building.

Thinking only in terms of an energy budget leads to an underestimation of problems and critical points of the building, for example, thermal bridges. The AZero meeting last year in Reggio Emilia was very disappointing for this reason, and we invite you to read our comments.


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