A pre-fabricated panelized wall system that makes Passive House construction simple and affordable now boasts a highly regarded certification.

The high-performance Build SMART wall system is now officially a Certified Passive House Component, a designation granted by the Passive House Institute in Germany. That system includes insulated wall panels and slab foundation forms.

“The availability of high-quality building materials plays a key role in the success of passive construction, therefore this product represents a huge step forward for the propagation of the Passive House standard in the United States,” says Edward Lowes of the PHI.

This certification gives builders, designers and property owners the stamp of approval they’re looking for to meet Passive House standards. But with the Build SMART wall system, users get a lot more than a singular component, says Adam Cohen, founder and technical director of the company. “They get a pre-fabricated structural panel that supplies a wall assembly complete with a stud wall, continuous rigid foam insulation, exterior sheathing, air-tightened windows and doors, and a water-resistive barrier, as well as a slab foundation system,” Cohen says. “We’re currently working on certifying our basement foundation system.”

To certify the assembly to PHI standards, Lowes says heat flow simulation was used with finite element method software. That established energy performance indicators including the U value, Psi value and the fRsi value. Results were then compared against values required for Passive Houses in various climates. The Build SMART system was tested in the cool-temperate climate. Build SMART is currently pursuing certification in other climate zones as well.

“We look forward to working with other green building initiatives – including Passive House Institute U.S., on similar certifications of the modular Build SMART panels, and components used in their construction,” Cohen added. “Our goal is to simplify the design professional’s challenge of achieving a high-performing, energy-efficient design at a competitive price, regardless of which methodology or modeling tools they employ.”

Ideal for multi-family, commercial and residential construction, the Build SMART pre-fabricated panels are manufactured in a quality-controlled factory, free from the effects of rainy weather on a conventionally built structure. The system also allows a much faster build time – one builder in Kansas City predicts the Build SMART system will shave two months off his construction schedule.

Reaping the Benefits

The benefits of using Build SMART components to build Passive House structures extend far beyond time savings for builders.

Designers/architects: As building codes become more and more stringent, designers face a greater burden to meet improved energy performance specifications for new buildings. The Build SMART system eliminates the need to specify every minute detail of the building’s perimeter walls. The plug-and-play Build SMART components allow designers to create a high-performing building envelope with the confidence and assurance of both quality and price. No more guesswork about assembly airtightness.

Builders: Builders are responding to an increased demand for high-performance, energy-efficient structures (much of it resulting from higher standards in building codes), and Build SMART panels offer a complete solution. Beyond improved energy performance, builders will also realize a significant time and labor savings compared to conventional construction – getting them onto the next project more quickly.

Property owners: Passive House construction made possible through Build SMART results in reduced maintenance costs for the building, as well as extremely low utility bills for the tenants. Occupants will also notice improved comfort of their living and working spaces, as well as a high standard of indoor air quality.

Learn more at BuildSMARTna.com.