What is Passivhaus?

Passivhaus is sometimes compared to or confused with the Code for Sustainable Homes and BREEAM ratings for non-domestic buildings.  In reality the distinction is quite simple: Passivhaus is a specific energy performance standard that delivers very high levels of energy efficiency, whilst the Code and BREEAM are overarching sustainability assessment ratings which address a large number of environmental issues.

Basic Principles

The Passivhaus standard is sometimes confused with more generic approaches to passive solar architecture, with which it shares some common principles.  Where the Passivhaus standard differs from more generic concepts is in its ability to reduce the required heating demand and primary energy consumption for a building. It can therefore be considered both as a robust energy performance specification and a holistic low energy design concept.

In a Passivhaus thermal comfort for the occupants is achieved to the greatest practical extent through the use of passive measures listed below which can be applied not only to the residential sector but also to commercial, industrial and public buildings.

  • Good levels of insulation with minimal thermal bridges.

  • Passive solar gains and internal heat sources.

  • Excellent level of airtightness.

  • Good indoor air quality, provided by a whole house mechanical ventilation system with highly efficient heat recovery.