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Lessons from Germany’s Passivhaus experience (NF47)


As at July 2012, the number of Passivhaus buildings in the UK either completed or under construction stood at a relatively modest 165.  At the same time, in Germany there were around 20,000.

The core focus of Passivhaus is to minimise the requirement for space heating and cooling via high-specification fabric and achieve low overall energy consumption.  It is often referred to as a “comfort standard” as well as an energy standard, and the popularity of Passivhaus in Germany – including a 92% positivity rating by occupants – has been largely due to a combination of social, political and financial circumstances that are specific to that nation.

This report provides an objective overview of the experience gained to date from Passivhaus in Germany and elsewhere in Europe.  It looks at the achievements and the national context that has helped its popularity in Germany, while conversely discusses some of the differences that may hinder volume uptake in the UK.

Summary of content


Context of Passivhaus concept in the UK

The Passivhaus basics

  • Description of Passivhaus
  • Passivhaus requirements
  • Passivhaus Planning Package
  • Quality assurance and certification
  • Appearance of a Passivhaus building

Context and drivers

  • Social context
  • Historical context
  • Political/legal targets
  • Economics

Construction activity to date

User experience and acceptance

The outlook for Passivhaus in the UK