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Single Family Passive House Prescriptive Pathway

Measure Description

The purpose of this measure is to investigate and develop an alternative prescriptive compliance path for homes certified by Passive House (PH). The California Energy Commission and the Title 24, Part 6 Standards embrace many of the goals behind the passive house standard. That means optimized envelopes utilizing smaller heating, cooling and generation systems, and minimizing building energy use 

The guiding principles behind the PH Standard and Certification embrace the ongoing goals and intent of Title 24, Part 6. The intent of this research measure is to determine if buildings built to the PH Standard could potentially satisfy requirements under the 2022 California Energy Code, and could buildings certified under the PH Standard qualify as equivalent to the prescriptive requirements for residential buildings.  

The Statewide CASE Team will investigate whether any barriers or challenges exist to ensure enforceability, identify whether a home built to the Passive House Standard can meet the prescriptive code requirements, what, if any, measures may be required to meet equivalency, and review key elements in Passive House that are not adequately addressed in the ACM. 

While PH certified projects can comply with Title 24, Part 6 using the performance approach, providing a prescriptive compliance path for PH certified projects can allow for higher adoption in both single family and multifamily construction, which can further reduce energy use in buildings resulting in significant energy savings and greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions. 

Submeasure Moved to Future Code Cycles

The Statewide CASE Team investigated code change opportunities for single family passive house prescriptive pathway for the 2022 code cycle.

After initial research, including interviews with stakeholders, the Statewide CASE Team discontinued pursuing proposed changes for the 2022 code change cycle because it was not found to be cost effective on the 15-year timeline required for nonresidential measures. While Passive House designs were shown to perform better than the 2019 Title 24 Standard Design in almost all cases, some conditions were identified in mild climates where there is the potential for a house to meet criteria for the single family passive house prescriptive pathway but still be non-compliant with the current 2019 Title 24 code, based on the CBECC-Res software. While most areas of concern can be addressed through added prescriptive requirements, it would result in a compliance path that would not necessarily improve or simplify the permit approval process. Given the limited resources available in this code cycle, this does not have as high a priority as other measures.  

To support ongoing research and future code cycle consideration, additional information on single family passive house measures can be submitted to the Statewide CASE Team through info@title24stakeholders.com.

Relevant Documents

Measure proposals, supporting documents, and other outside references will be made public as they become available.

Give Us Your Feedback

The Statewide CASE Team values input from all stakeholders engaged in the Title 24, Part 6 code change process. We encourage the open exchange of code change comments and concerns.

  • Use the form above to provide feedback on this measure.