Multifamily Ventilation Duct Leakage: Targets, Strategies, and Lessons Learned

Multifamily Ventilation Duct Leakage: Targets, Strategies, and Lessons Learned


Focusing on multifamily buildings, this presentation uncovers the difficulties, defines the targets, and provides strategies for success from two of North America’s leading Passive House firms. Presented by, Kelly Fisher, Peel Passive House Consulting and Michael Schmidt, Steven Winter Associates.



Ventilation airflows are an essential component of Passive House building performance, delivering the fresh, hygienic indoor air at the heart of Passive House goals. As buildings grow in size, ventilation duct leakage grows in importance, and successfully commissioning a system with airtight ducts with minimal leakage becomes essential to obtaining Passive House Certification. 

Complicating things, larger buildings are often built sequentially, where some parts are completed and closed-in while others are not yet installed.  Understanding the targets, the interplay of components and processes, and strategies to successfully commission the ventilation system is a basic service of Passive House delivery.

Focusing on multifamily buildings, this presentation uncovers the difficulties, defines the targets, and provides strategies for success from two of North America’s leading Passive House firms.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Describe the Passive House certification criteria and the actual performance necessary for ventilation systems to be within compliance.
  2. Analyze standard passive house ventilation system designs, layouts, and components about the performance and field installations.
  3. Demonstrate through examples common problem areas related to the implementation and operation of high-performance Passive House ventilation systems.
  4. Recommend ways to design for best ventilation performance based on lessons learned.

About Kelly Fisher

Kelly Fisher is a Senior Passive House Consultant at Peel Passive House Consulting, and is a Passive House building  Certifier with 7 years experience in the Passive House industry. With 15 years of experience in the construction industry in various roles, her interest in Passive House has sparked a shift to address needed improvements in how we build and operate our buildings, to make the world better for future generations. At Peel Passive House, Kelly manages certification consultancy projects of all sizes and types. 

About Michael Schmidt

Michael Schmidt is a Senior Building Systems Consultant at Steven Winter Associates, focusing on performance testing, field inspections, and verification of energy efficiency measures on projects pursuing Passive House certification. Michael is Certified Passive House Tradesperson and a Passive House Certified Verifier. Michael has worked as the primary field inspector on numerous Passive House certified projects of various sizes and across the New York City tri-state area. 

About Peel Passive House Consulting

Peel Passive House shares a vision for a world in which sustainable building practices pave the way for healthier and more comfortable lives, as well as a more promising future for subsequent generations. What we do is spurred by passion, empowered by a purpose that aligns with our values. Through different journeys, we have arrived on the same path.

“It’s easier to save a kWh than find alternative ways of producing.”

Driven towards solutions that present simple, sensible, and effective answers to some of today’s most pressing climate change and resource conservation concerns, our team seeks to consistently demonstrate the value of our services with tangible results. We understand that without integrity, nothing works. That is why our approach is open, honest, and transparent. The world, in its present state, is calling for change, and we believe that what we do is capable of making a positive difference.  Peel Passive House is leading the transformation of the building sector towards a future that can better meet the needs of all stakeholders, including occupants, building owners, and developers. We strive to change the paradigm of what a building can be by maximizing health, comfort, resilience, and sustainability. Whether through consultancy, training, professional certification, component certification, or building certification, we work towards making Passive House more accessible around the world, while maintaining the integrity of the method. Visit Peel Passive House.

About Steven Winter Associates

Steven Winter Associates, Inc. provides research, consulting and advisory services to improve commercial, residential and multifamily built environments for private and public sector clients. We specialize in energy, sustainability and accessibility consulting as well as certification, research & development and compliance services. Our engineers and architects have led the way since 1972 in the development of best practices to achieve high performance buildings. As a matter of course, we collaborate with our clients to produce the most cost-effective and innovative solutions. Visit SWA’s website.


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