Passivhaus, or Passive House as we refer to it in the U.S. is a big movement, particularly in Europe where there is a strong desire to build more efficiently. The concept essentially requires that a home be built to such a standard that it can generate all the energy that is needed to electrify, heat, and cool the home. It is often called net-zero energy use. The concept is very successful in Europe where homes tend to be more compact and exist in much more stable and milder climate.
In the U.S., as Treehugger.com notes, we have to contend with extreme temperature swings throughout the year. Extreme cold in the winter to the high temperatures we see across the country in the summer. Homes are also much larger, more expansive because consumers demand the extra space. As a result, it makes achieving the Passive House standard much more difficult to attain.
That said in the article from TreeHugger they recognize that there are some theories that the Passivhaus standard is actually stacked to benefit larger spaces and penalize smaller homes. Overall, the debate is rolling around the viability of this trend.
As a consumer it is important to select products that will provide adequate insulation, seal your structure, and make your home as energy-efficient as possible. Achieving these standards can be difficult, but taking small steps today can really pay off in the long-run.
You can read more on this at: http://www.treehugger.com/sustainable-product-design/passivhaus-too-rigid-and-inflexible-for-america.html