Passive House and low energy dwellings

Passive House represents a revolutionary approach to energy-efficient building, offering an innovative method for residential construction that prioritises thermal comfort and affordability. Delve into the history, principles, and applications of this pioneering concept, and learn how Zehnder's contributions are leading the way in the UK's Passive House movement

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.

Older architect, with house model, desk, office, working

Partner of choice for Passive House

MVHR is a fundamental part of a Passive House and we are experts in the 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.

Explore our range

Comfo Air Q, basement room, laundry room, milieu, CA Q,
Passivhaus Trust

Passivhaus Trust, a not-for-profit organisation, leads the UK's adoption of the Passive House standard, emphasising energy efficiency and comfort in building design. Zehnder is a Founder Member and also instrumental in shaping the UK's Passive House movement and is affiliated with the Passive House Institute (PHI) through the International Passive House Association (iPHA).

Continuing Professional Development (CPD)
MVHR in Passivhaus
Zehnder is delighted to be able to provide a RIBA-approved CPD entitled. This means that we are eligible to deliver this RIBA-certified training course to Architects and other construction professionals.
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