Policies that Moved Passive House in 2022

A Recap of the best PH policy moves we supported, encouraged and helped initiate across the US

The PHN Policy Committee, led by its Chair, Bronwyn Barry, is happy to do a rundown of significant policy activity from this past year. They are exciting accomplishments and we look forward to growing efforts in 2023 – with your help!

  1. PHN’s  ‘Policy That Works’ paper (aka ‘Policy Onramps: Using Passive House to Accelerate Building Decarbonization’)  was accepted and presented at ACEEE’s 2022 Summer Study. This  bi-annual gathering of US policymakers was an excellent opportunity for PHN to network with policymakers across the country. We spent a week highlighting successful Passive House policies already in place and connecting with policymakers from across the nation. 
  2. Boston hosts PHN’s 2022 Policy Roundtable – a part of our annual conference where we gather leading Passive House policymakers to share their success.
  3. A CLOSE CALL: Pennsylvania’s Housing Finance Authority (PHFA)  almost dropped their PH QAP points, but fortunately voted to retain them – in no small part due to PHN’s letter of encouragement. (Bravo PHFA for not caving!)
  4. New Jersey proposed adding a Passive House incentive tier to their new construction clean energy program. We wrote this letter to encourage them, and to be inclusive of both Passive certification pathways.  They unfortunately elected to NOT include Passive House in this round, and kept ZERH as their top tier, but we’re on their radar and will circle back again next year.
  5.  The City of Chicago made a bold move to highlight Passive House as a certification option on their own city website here (scroll down. Way down…)  We wrote to congratulate them and encourage them to be inclusive of both pathways. (We’ll circle back again next year to give them another nudge.)
  6. Utilities made a number of BIG MOVES in favor of Passive House this year. In ColoradoPHN was delighted to celebrate and promote Xcel Energy’s Marshall Fire Rebuild Incentive program, which offers a whopping $37,500 rebate for certified PH projects. Whoop whoop!!! 
  7. Utilities everywhere are now uncovering the impressive load-shifting benefits that Passive House buildings offer to their grids. California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) issued an incredible report documenting the grid benefits of Passive House. They are scheduled to release a follow-up report that calculates commensurate infrastructure savings. (What this space in 2023 – we predict this will be BIG news for Passive House in California and elsewhere.) 
  8. PHN presented at COP27.  We shared a platform with reps from the International Codes Counsel and our colleagues from the Passive House Institute, to outline how Passive House can help accelerate baseline codesThe session was recorded and can be viewed here.  
  9. PHN presented at GREENBUILD alongside Rory Cox of the CPUC and Mindy Craig of Blue Point Planning. Our session reviewed a Multifamily Zero Carbon Action Plan for California, and highlighted the key role of Passive House. (Our session was rated among the highest attended and scored, and was repeated in a replay session hosted by the organizers.)
  10. The State of Massachusetts added Passive House certification as an opt-in alternate Stretch Code for all low-rise multifamily buildings. This option is applicable, starting on January 1st, 2023. The same code will be applicable for larger multifamily buildings, beginning in 2024. Based on this we expect to see an explosion of Passive House buildings in MA next year as we hear that more than 300 jurisdictions will be adopting this stretch code to meet their local climate action targets. Bravo Massachusetts – and congrats to our friends at PHMA who helped make this happen. 

Take action and get involved:

  • PHN’s Policy Committee has been actively working to support local and regional PH efforts across the US. Let us know if you need us to write a support letter, or help advise on what you can do in your region.
  • If you’d like to support the work of PHN’s Policy and Advocacy Committee, consider making a DONATION HERE. We’ll use these funds to  develop policy and advocacy resources for direct regional implementation. 
  • Become a PHN member if you aren’t already. Policymakers need to see that PH efforts are in demand, and the best way to do that is to become an active member of one of PHN’s chapters.