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What is Passive House – The basics

What is Passivhaus (Passive House)?

Passivhaus (passive house) buildings provide a high level of occupant comfort while using very little energy for heating and cooling. They are built with meticulous attention to detail and rigorous design and construction according to principles developed by the Passivhaus Institute in Germany, and can be certified through an exacting quality assurance process. This goes beyond the minimum requirements set by the UK Building Regulations.

Passivhaus is a building standard that is truly energy efficient, comfortable, affordable and ecological at the same time. Passihaus is not a brand name, but a construction concept. However, a Passive House is more than just a low-energy building.

Passive Houses allow for heating and cooling related energy savings of up to 90% compared with typical building stock and over 75% compared with average new builds. In terms of heating oil, Passive Houses use less than 1.5 litres per square meter of living space per year – far less than typical low-energy buildings. Similar energy savings have been demonstrated in warm climates where buildings require more energy for cooling than for heating.

Passive Houses are also praised for their high level of comfort. They use energy sources inside the building such as the body heat from the residents or solar heat entering the building – making heating a lot easier. Appropriate windows with good insulation and a building shell consisting of good insulated exterior walls, roof and floor slab keep the heat during winter in the house – and keep it out during summer.

A ventilation system consistently supplies fresh air making for superior air quality without causing any unpleasant draughts. A highly efficient heat recovery unit allows for the heat contained in the exhaust air to be re-used.

The vast energy savings in Passive Houses are achieved by using especially energy efficient building components and a quality ventilation system: There is absolutely no cutting back on comfort; instead the level of comfort is considerably increased.

The Passive House has got it all


The Passive House Standard offers a new level of quality pairing a maximum level of comfort both during cold and warm months with reasonable construction costs – something that is repeatedly confirmed by Passive House residents.


Passive Houses are praised for their efficiency due to their high level of insulation and their airtight design. Another important principle is Thermal Bridge Free Design. The insulation is applied without any “weak spots” around the whole building so as to eliminate cold corners as well as excessive heat losses. This method is another essential principle assuring a high level of quality and comfort in Passive Houses while preventing damages due to moisture build up.

Ecology / Sustainability

They use extremely little energy, leaving sufficient energy resources for all future generations without causing any environmental damage.


According to the web portal – Electricity Prices UK, who quote OFGEM figures, the average household energy bill was £1,604.37 for a three bedroom house. Bearing in mind we are at a very early stage in the projects design and development. Passivhaus designed homes have the potential to have energy bills as low as £200 / year. A Passivhaus will help to reduce your energy consumption and in turn reduce your energy bills. Therefore, you will have more money to spend on the things you enjoy.

As a firm of Manchester Architects we ae not limited to the Manchester area. We are work throughout the UK on new home designs. If you would like discuss your project with us. Give us a call on 0161 401 2009 or use the contact form here.

What is Passive House - The basics
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What is Passive House - The basics
Passivhaus (passive house) buildings provide a high level of occupant comfort while using very little energy for heating and cooling.
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PS9 Architects
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