Principles - How Passivhaus Works​

​The Passivhaus provide buildings that stays comfortable with the minimum use of heating and cooling systems.


A non-technical definition is:

‘….a building which is kept warm and comfortable by heating or cooling the fresh air flow which is required for good indoor air quality (no unpleasant smells)’.


Compare an insulated coffee jug with a coffee machine – both keep the coffee warm until it is drunk, but the coffee jug does it by conserving the heat.  The coffee machine has to keep heating the coffee to offset the heat that is lost through the ordinary glass jug.  The thermal image shows the greater heat loss from the coffee machine (white, yellow and red) compared to the insulated jug (blue and green).

In practice for a Passivhaus this means:

  • The heating requirement is close to the theoretical minimum – ie very low.

  • Passive principles, which avoid moving parts, are used first to provide comfort. Insulation with high quality construction is considered before the installation of a heating system.

  • Low energy design is used for heating, hot water, lighting and appliances.


The concept was developed in Germany and Sweden in the late 1980’s, and since the building of the first Passivhaus in 1991 over 40,000 Passivhaus buildings have been certified worldwide.

Passivhaus,Passive House