Passive House - everything you need to know

If you’re planning to renovate your home in a way that makes it more environmentally friendly, then Passive House is a building standard you should definitely learn more about.

The aim of Passive House is to help people enjoy homes that are genuinely energy-efficient and comfortable, whilst still being affordable. It’s a tried and trusted construction concept that can be used to help improve the environmental effect of any home.

There are multiple benefits of a passive house:

  • - Passive houses allow for space heating and cooling related energy savings of up to 90% compared to traditional housing. Even average new builds are typically 75% less effective than the average Passive House. Passive Houses use far less oil or gas per square metre of living space: as much as 1.5 L of oil per square metre each year. Energy savings in warmer climates, where buildings require active cooling, are also substantial.

- Passive Houses are very efficient when it comes to making use of the sun, internal heat sources and heat recovery. Even in the coldest of winters, a passive house can render traditional heating systems unnecessary. In the warmer months, meanwhile, techniques such as strategic shading helped keep passive houses comfortably cool.

  • - Passive Houses are very comfortable to live in. The internal temperatures vary little across both surface and air, even when outdoor temperatures reach more extreme heat or cold. Whatever the weather, passive houses remain comfortable.
  • - Passive Houses boast fresh air circulation, superior to that of normal residential homes. The ventilation system used means improved air quality without having to deal with draughts in cold weather. What’s more, the efficient recovery units allow for the heat contained in the air exhaust to be recycled effectively.

What does a building need to be considered a passive house?

Firstly, the space heating energy demand cannot exceed 15 kWh per square metre of net living space per year, or 10W per square metre peak demand.

The primary energy demand - which is the total energy used for all domestic applications - must not exceed 120 kWh per square metre of treated floor area each year.

Airtightness must keep below the maximum of 0.6 air changes per hour at 50 pascals of pressure (ACH50), and this must be verified by an on-site pressure test in pressurised and depressurised states.

Thermal comfort needs to be met for all living areas during both winter and summer, and no more than 10% of the hours in any given year should be measured at over 25°C.

Are you interested in a Passive House?

These are some of the main requirements, but if you are interested in finding out more about this unique (and very beneficial) opportunity we would definitely recommend checking out the Passive House Institute website, which you can find at
At Livingwood, we can of course help assist you in undertaking this unique project. It’s possible to build to Passive House standard without necessarily needing the certification – or Passive House certified products – but this is ultimately dependent upon your project budget. If you’d like to find out more about how a passive house can be a better house, give us a call today on 01284 764045.