A Passive House is a very well-insulated, almost air-tight building that is primarily heated by passive solar gain and by internal gains from people, electrical equipment, etc. Any remaining heat demand is provided by an extremely small source. Avoidance of heat gain through shading and window orientation also helps to limit any cooling load, which is similarly minimized. The Passive House concept is aimed at slashing the heating energy consumption of buildings by an amazing 90%.
In addition to the information that necolepe provided, I wanted to list some common passive house building materials.
High thermal storage capacity materials like tile, concrete, granite, stone and adobe are commonly used for passive house interiors to minimize energy loss. Each room in a passive house will usually contain 5-6 thermal storage surfaces (floor, walls, countertops, fireplaces).
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