Passivhaus (Passive House) has become the internationally acknowledged gold standard for sustainable architecture. The first Passivhaus was built in Germany in 1991 and Passivhaus now extends across every continent with over 30,000 completed buildings to date, covering all building types from houses to factories and even renovations to existing buildings (EnerPHit). Passivhaus buildings are extremely well insulated with triple glazed windows which keep the building warm in the winter and cool in the summer with a near constant temperature all year round. The air in a Passivhaus never gets stale or stuffy because the ventilation system provides plentiful fresh, pollen and dust free air, meaning a comfortable living environment.
Energy consumption is massively reduced compared to a conventional buildings and Passivhaus buildings perform as designed, unlike many buildings in the UK (including many so called 'eco' examples), which can use twice as much energy as predicted! Passivhaus buildings are partly heated passively by capturing the heat of the sun making use of heat from internal sources such as people and electrical appliances, and so little additional heat is required that. People joke that you can heat your Passivhaus by simply throwing a party!
The Passivhaus Standard is a quality standard and does not dictate a particular method of construction, so masonry, timber, steel or even straw bales etc can be used. Passivhaus principals can equally be applied to a renovation project termed EnerPHit.
We design to Passivhaus principles in everything we do to but a pragmatic approach can be taken as required and while certification is often worthwhile, it is obviously optional