What is a Passive House?
A building standard that is truly energy efficient, comfortable, affordable and ecological
at the same time.
Passive House is not a brand name, but a construction concept that can be applied by anyone and that has stood
the test of practice.
Yet, a Passive House is more than just a low-energy building.
Passive Houses allow for energy savings of up to 90% compared with typical central European buildings and over
75% compared with average new constructions. 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.
Special windows and a building shell consisting of highly insulated exterior walls, roof and floor slab keep the
desired warmth in the house – or undesirable heat out.
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
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 (see Comfort).
Passive Houses save energy and reduce greenhouse gases - not just a little but a great deal. And these savings
do not only exist on paper but also in real life. This diagram shows the consumption values measured in low-energy
houses and in Passive House estates.
The Passive Houses Standard is a sustainable construction standard, and the Resolution of the European
Parliament of 31 Januar 2008 calls for its implementation by all member states by 2011. On 17 November 2009 the
European Parliament and the Council fixed 2020 as a deadline for all new buildings to be nearly zero energy