What is Passivhaus?

Passivhaus (sometimes known as Passive House) is a voluntary low-energy building standard. It aims to provide occupants with a high level of comfort (heating and cooling) while using barely any energy. Homes can achieve this through Passivhaus design principles, which are highly energy-efficient, boasting little-to-no running costs or carbon emissions.

Click to see the origins of Passivhaus building

First developed in Germany in the late ’80s, Passivhaus building was pioneered by Professors Wolfgang Fiest and Bo Adamson, with the first homes built in the ’90s.

While they were the first to build what we know as Passivhaus homes today, Fiest and Adamson’s revelation focuses on the research and development of builders in North America during the ’70s. They looked to construct homes that used little to no energy, using the sun as a primary heat source – the critical requirements of Passivhaus building today.

The first actual Passivhaus construction to the standard that we know today was four terraced townhouses in Darmstadt, Germany. Built in 1990 by architectural firm Bott, Ridder & Westermeyer, their clients occupied the homes the following year. This was a pivotal point in low-energy construction and paved the way for the now-booming industry in modern times.

Reduction in Heating Demand

The Passivhaus Trust note that these fantastic homes achieve around a 75% reduction in annual heating requirements compared to other UK new-build homes built by standard practices – with homes built in warmer climates requiring even less energy.

How is this achieved? Well, it’s quite simple...

Passivhaus building focuses on reducing heat loss to the point that it needs little to no heating, with this achieved from solar heat, appliances in the home and occupants of the Passivhaus house. These are teamed with impeccable building standards such as high insulation levels using Insulated Concrete Formwork (ICF) and minimal thermal bridges to achieve a significant reduction in heating demand.

What are Passivhaus Standard Requirements?

The requirements for your home to meet Passivhaus Standards. The Passive House Institute detail them as follows:

  • Space Heating Energy Demand should not exceed 15 kWh per m2of net living space per year.
  • The Renewable Primary Energy Demand, the total energy to be required for all of your home’s domestic applications, must not exceed 60 kWh per m2.
  • Looking at Airtightness, a maximum of 0.6 air changes per hour is allowed at 50 Pascals pressure (ACH50). This will be verified with an onsite pressure test.
  • Thermal comfort should be met for all living areas for energy-efficient houses in both summer and winter seasons. This shouldn’t exceed 25°c for any more than 10% of the hours in a year.

Benefits of a certified Self-Build Home

There are endless benefits of having a Passivhaus certified home.

Click to see the advantages of Passivhaus building

Low running costs: This is a crucial benefit to the user more than anything else. Passivhaus homeowners will see a considerable reduction in their running costs. As aforementioned, owners will tend to see prices reflecting as little as 25% of a typical new-build home, with many seeing even less than this in certain climates.


Sustainability: A key benefit to our beautiful planet and the user again. An obvious one too! If we are using less energy, this will, in turn, have a significant impact on planet earth with a massive reduction in carbon emissions. Another implication to consider also looks at the decrease in labour and construction – if there are fewer of these used, homes will require less energy when building them.


Longevity: The lifecycle of the home itself. Passivhaus homes are known for their unrivalled longevity — houses built for the future that stand the test of time.


Healthy Environment: While not an essential requirement for Passivhaus building standards, we still feel that a healthy environment for users is imperative for the building process. Improved air quality, thermal comfort and balanced moisture and humidity levels are all enjoyed in a Passivhaus home.

Passivhaus Building and Services at Econekt

Here at Econekt, Passivhaus is in the DNA of everything we do. We can offer a full-service self-build project or help at specific job points. We offer everything from a full Turnkey service to supply and site assistance (plus everything in-between). We also provide the ability to certify your project, working closely with our partner Passive House School. They are able to offer a full Passivhaus certification on your new home, post-construction, through the use of the Passive House Planning Package (PHPP). A full list of our services can be found here.

Please get in touch to discuss your Passivhaus building needs with one of our highly trained specialists and you could be making your dream home a reality in no time!

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