The German Passive House Standard is a way of evaluating a buildings performance. Both the plans and the finished house are tested. According to the Passive House Institute Australia(PHIA) Europe and North America will reach those standards in their everyday building approval process in 4 years. It is like a rigorous version of our 6 star system. I think it particularly suitable for Tasmanian conditions.
The bottom line is that the house uses under a certain amount of energy per square meter per year. House design varies according to the local climate conditions. Some of the key areas are:
-- draft proofing (usually 2 layers of building wrap)
-- heat recovery ventilation
-- eliminating thermal bridges (conduction of heat, mostly, through solid materials)
-- and of course thick walls with good continuous insulation
Passive House standard: