LEED vs PHIUS: Which one do I Choose?

by Cody Farmer

Air Tight Construction Colorado

When considering which building standard to use when designing your next building, it’s important to do these kinds of fair comparisons. We could also do a similar comparison to Energy Star (which I just might do) or other building models out there, but for now, let’s focus on these two standards. Our friend Ken Levenson of FourSevenFive.com had a few key points on the subject:


Let’s start with the fact that LEED has been around longer in the United States, having been founded in 1993.  It has garnered support from the American government so much so that LEED is considered industry standard in almost every level of government in all but 4 states. Because of this decades-long nationwide recognition and support, LEED has been a bit more well-known and accepted than any other building model particular to the commercial space.

Certainly, the reason for this is because LEED focuses on much higher-level and thorough design considerations than the previous standard, like light pollution, bike racks, porous flat materials etc. I recommend anyone to become familiar with LEED.

And then, go get to know a Passive House Energy Modeler and build to the Passive House Standard while LEED is fresh in your mind. The truth is LEED and Passive House are completely complimentary!

Certified Passive Houses focus primarily on Severe Energy Savings, Increased Comfort through Durability and Superior Indoor Air Quality. Because Passive House has roots with Passive Solar, its practice has been largely niched in residential design. Plenty of Passive House practitioners are implementing the Passive House standard on Commercial jobs. MainStream is one such company.

Air Tight Construction Colorado

What is characteristic to Passive House buildings is that they are modeled to use MUCH less energy and they commonly use MUCH less energy!

Air Tight Construction Colorado

What is Characteristic of LEED buildings is their holistic solution to environmentalism at-large.  

You can see why I feel they are complementary standards to each other. They’re not really comparable.

If this piques your interest, CLICK HERE to find out more about how you can build your own passive house or offer this to your clients as an option!