Wednesday, March 29, 2017

LEED vs Net Zero vs Passive House

Ready or not, more stringent energy codes and regulations are coming. Even President Trump's easing of energy regulations won’t curb this trend.

California for example is preparing to enforce a Net Zero for all new homes built beginning in 2020 and at the moment I see nothing slowing this down. Quickly following CA’s lead is usually MD and a couple of other states.


Are we preparing for it in our modular home factories, in how we set our homes and how modular home builders finish their homes? Some maybe. For the vast majority in our industry, hearing about it and understanding it are two different things.

Here is a very quick definition of the three top of energy terms and links to get you started. Some of them will require you to leave a trail of breadcrumbs so you don’t get lost while reading about them.


LEED - Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is a rating system that was developed by the USGBC (United States Green Building Council) in order to assess the environmental performance of buildings, homes, and other types of construction. This movement was initiated in order to increase the amount of sustainable building in America.

The LEED Points System

By using a point system, LEED will give points for positive considerations within the building’s design and will reward each aspect with a specific amount of points. LEED does not focus on final energy performance as part of the points system, and focus more on the materials used for the project. For final assessment, LEED has four levels of certification which is determined by the final amount of points that the project was given: Certified, Silver, Gold and Platinum. This is used mostly for commercial projects and very high end homes where the consumer has probably only been told about LEED by their Architect.

Net Zero Building

The concept of Net Zero Energy building is one that is based on producing as much energy as one consumes over the course of a year. The goal of this type of Green Building is to minimize the amount of energy used by using energy efficient products and a sustainable infrastructure. Net Zero Building is fairly new and is still building its platform, but the concept differs from LEED due to the fact that the assessment is done by measuring the amount of renewable energy overtime rather than giving points to systems that may work, but in the long run will not provide the same amount of energy savings overtime.

Builders will need to use a HERS Rater to determine each house’s energy savings.

Passive House Construction

Passive house is one of the most demanding organizations that are used for Green Building, but are also the most successful at achieving energy efficient living standards. Passive House standards focus on achieving energy efficiency while lowering the use of energy consumption from day to day use. The regulations and standards of building a Passive House are based on insulation values, the use of sunlight, and an airtight infrastructure in order to maintain a steady temperature within a home throughout the year.

1 comment:

Steve L said...

Labels are for architects.
If a modular builder designs, builds, and equips a good CUPCAKE (building envelope) tests it for leakage, ships it, assembles its,
test it again on site
then the builder will not need a lot of Icing (Solar/Wind or alternatives) the theory is the power generate only powers the house and NOT the additional plug ins