When it comes to high performance passive building, the details matter. The enclosure is front and center in passive design and it’s really critical to get the construction details for thermal, vapor and air control right. Once those are nailed down, the details should be further optimized for appropriate materials, sequencing, cost, etc. without sacrificing the building science.

One of the values of Phius project certification is that it builds and shares knowledge. There are now more than 1,200 Phius projects, over half of which are Design Certified or built and Certified. They range from single-family to commercial and span a large range of climate zones. And let me tell you, I’m fairly confident we’ve seen it all. We’ve seen details that are remarkably simple and effective, and some that… well let’s say they may be better off remaining *ahem* “experiments.”

New project teams should not need to reinvent the wheel. There’s no reason to start from scratch, and there’s no time or resources to do so – not within individual project timelines or within our carbon emissions reduction deadline. Simple, replicable details can go a long way to bridge the knowledge gap for construction teams and cost-effective details help support our mission of making this construction style mainstream.

In 2018, a “Passive House Details” book was released by Alison Kwok, CPHC® and Phius-certified Instructor, Jan Fillinger, CPHC®, and Donald Corner. This book focused on details for passive projects in the Northwest region and to date has been an indispensable resource for the design community. But, this industry moves quickly and just a few years later there are new lessons learned and new solutions to share. Our constituents are begging us for more.

In the first half of 2023, Phius will release sets of details from 11 different Phius certified projects. These details include the connection points for the opaque enclosure elements (wall-to-roof, wall-to-wall, wall-to-floor, etc.) as well as window installation details. The details have been re-drawn to a consistent key with attention to, yes, detail. 

The graphics will call out the materials used, outline control layers, and provide a full thermal bridge analysis and calculated psi-value (linear heat transfer coefficient) of each detail. This “details library” is intended to serve as a key design resource – not to be used as construction drawings but to provide a significant jumping-off point for design. 

To whet your appetite, here’s a sneak peak of a couple: 

After this first set is released, the Phius Alliance plans to continually add to the library with new examples from certified projects and likely even some “optimized” versions of these – marked up by our expert trainers and constituents. The greater details library is planned to be a Members-Only resource, including live clips continuing the “Digging into the Details” webinar series that launched last year.

We hope this library will spur discussion, creativity and further optimization within the passive building community – continuing to share knowledge, remove barriers, and learn from each other's mistakes to push passive building into the mainstream.