Last call for 2012 / pre-Challenge Home PHIUS+ projects!

Hello, it’s Ryan Abendroth here. I’m the Certification Manager at PHIUS. With the new year coming, it’s a good time to discuss the upcoming changes to the certification process and what it means for project teams pursuing PHIUS+ Certification.

Starting January 1, 2013, projects submitted for PHIUS+ Certification must meet the U.S. Department of Energy’s Challenge Home and the DOE/EPA Energy Star 3.0 requirements. This is a good thing—and will result in a streamlined, one-stop certification process, as I’ll explain later in the blog.

But, if you’re a CPHC with an ongoing project designed with the current certification requirements in mind, I encourage you to submit it for PHIUS+ Certification before the end of the year. Any project submitted before January 1 will be PHIUS+ Certified to current (2012) QA/QC requirements and will not need to also meet Challenge Home and Energy Star status. This will avoid any additional work on projects that were designed before the Challenge Home harmonization (this is especially important for projects that PHIUS first reviewed years ago, before PHIUS+ was established, but have been delayed).

For your project to be recognized as submitted you must supply a signed contract and PHIUS+ Certification payment. You’ll find the fee schedule here.

  • You can request the contract directly from me or simply email
  • You can sign, scan and  return the contract electronically or by snail mail to the PHIUS address: 110 S. Race, Suites 202, Urbana, IL 61801
  • Payment can be made by check via mail or via PayPal on the PHIUS Web site

For projects with expected completion dates in the next several months, I strongly encourage you to submit your documentation for certification before the end of the year—they likely were designed well before the US DOE and PHIUS established the new partnership.

Come 2013, earning PHIUS+ certification also earns the DOE Challenge Home designation.

Moving forward, I firmly believe that the upcoming changes streamline and simplify the PHIUS+ Certification process. In most cases, design changes will not be necessary for passive houses to achieve all three certifications. Currently, the QA/QC process for PHIUS+ includes a spreadsheet to be filled out by the PHIUS+ Rater in addition to the required tests of ventilation commissioning and blower door. With the new Challenge Home requirements, the PHIUS+ Spreadsheet will shrink in scope and complexity. The Energy Star 3.0 and Challenge Home checklists will take the place of some of the provisions currently in the PHIUS+ spreadsheet. You can download the new PHIUS+ spreadsheet here.

As mentioned above, starting January 1, 2013, all projects pursuing PHIUS+ Certification will be required to meet the specification for Energy Star and the US Department of Energy’s Challenge Home Certifications. Through the partnership between Challenge Home and PHIUS, there have been some exemptions granted within the Challenge Home and Energy Star requirements for projects pursuing PHIUS+ Certification. More news on these exemptions will be provided as soon as the updated Challenge Home documents are released.

Feel free to ask any questions here via comments here on the blog or by email at

Happy Holidays,


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *