Passive House and low energy dwellings

What is passive house?

Passive House is a construction concept, not a brand name. It stands for a building standard that is energy efficient, comfortable and affordable. It provides paramount thermal comfort with very low heating demand.

The Passive House standard was conceived when Professor Bo Adamson of Lund University, Sweden, and Dr. Wolfgang Feist of the Institute for Housing and the Environment, Germany, collaborated in 1988. The very first pilot project (the Kranichstein Passive House in Darmstadt, Germany in 1990) was Europe’s first inhabited multi-family home to achieve a recorded heating energy consumption of below 12kWh/(m2a) – just 10% that of the standard house at the time. This consumption level was confirmed via years of detailed monitoring.

What’s passive about a passive house?

In short, the heating system. A Passive House doesn’t need to be actively heated because it uses passive heat gains to heat itself. Consequently, only a minimal amount of additional heating needs to be supplied. The concept is based on excellent thermal insulation and a highly efficient heat recovery system. The heat stays indoors and, therefore, doesn’t need to be provided by an active system. 

The ‘passive’ principle is well known in engineering. Passive security, passive filters, passive cooling and Passive House are examples of successful implementations of this principle. Of course, minor intervention is inevitable which means that these applications are not strictly ‘passive’ in the true sense of the term. Rather than simply allowing it to happen, processes are controlled in such a way that the required goals are met with minimum effort, as if it were happening all by itself.

Passive retention of heat

Passive retention of heat

Active heating

Active heating

Passivhaus Trust

Zehnder is proud to be a Founder Member of Passivhaus Trust – the UK Passive House organisation.

Passivhaus Trust is an independent, not-for-profit organisation that provides leadership in the UK for the adoption of the Passive House standard and methodology. Its aim is to promote the principles of Passive House as a highly effective way of reducing energy use and carbon emissions from buildings in the UK, as well as providing high standards of comfort and building health.

Zehnder is one of a group of forward-thinking companies who are leading the delivery of Passive House in the UK. Zehnder has helped to establish Passivhaus Trust as the Passive House standard body for the UK and signed up as a Founder Member to show full support.

Passivhaus Trust is affiliated to the Passive House Institute (PHI) through the International Passive House Association (iPHA).

Partner of Choice for Passive House

MVHR is a fundamental part of a Passive House Design and we are experts in the design of design and manufacture of these systems for residential dwellings. 

We have many years experience working with a range of dwelling designs that need effective ventilation without compromising energy strategies and offer an extensive Passive House Accredited Range of MVHR Systems

Continued Professional Development (CPD)

Zehnder is delighted to be able to provide a RIBA-approved CPD entitled:

‘Specifying Heat Recovery Ventilation in the Design of Domestic High Code Level and Passive House Properties.’

This means that we are eligible to deliver this RIBA-certified training course to Architects and other construction professionals.

The hour long seminar covers the following topics:

  1. Understand the key principles of heat recovery ventilation and how it works
  2. Learn about what constitutes a High Code Level and Passive House dwelling
  3. Understand how to identify the correct heat recovery system for the project
  4. Recognise the necessary features to achieve compliance with High Code Levels or Passive House standards
  5. Be aware of best practice when specifying heat recovery ventilation for domestic properties