An introduction to Passivhaus

We're building four Passivhaus (Passive Houses) on Torpoint Road in Bristol. Here's where you can find out a little bit more about the Passivhaus and what it's like to live in one. 

What is Passivhaus?

“Passivhaus”, or Passive House, is the fastest growing energy performance standard for buildings in the world. 

The “Passivhaus” approach is simple – to provide:

  • High levels of comfort and warmth while using very little energy for heating or cooling
  • Excellent levels of insulation
  • Exceptional airtightness
  • Excellent indoor air quality, through a mechanical ventilation system with highly efficient heat recovery.

Take a look at our example Passive House here

Where did it come from?

The “Passivhaus” standard was developed in Germany in the early 1990s by Professors Bo Adamson and Wolfgang Feist.

The first homes completed to the Passivhaus Standard were built in Darmstadt in 1991. 

Myth Buster

The myth The reality
Passive Houses are expensive to live in

Passive Houses will actually reduce your energy bills because they are so efficient and don’t use very much energy to keep you warm or cool. 

You can’t open the windows You can open the windows for comfort and cooling. A Passive House will recover heat much more quickly when the windows are shut again.
Passive Houses need no heating

Passive Houses do need heating, but they don’t need very much. 

Sealed buildings like Passive Houses are unhealthy

Proper ventilation is designed to work even in cold months when you want to keep the windows shut.

Mechanical ventilation in Passive Houses wastes energy Efficient, well-designed heat recovery ventilation in Passive Houses saves 10 times the energy it uses to work.
Passive Houses overheat in the summer Shading and cooling features are key to the design and help make sure the home is cool in summer months.
Passive Houses are complicated Passive Houses often use less technology and simpler systems than conventional homes. 

Measuring energy usage

In the first 12 months we'll be working with a local university to measure the energy usage of those living in the Passivhaus. This will be done remotely using smart meters. This'll be really useful because it means we'll be able to:

  • Measure how successful the energy efficiency measures are
  • Help residents make the maximum energy savings possible.

Making the most of this opportunity

To make the most of this exciting opportunity, we'll be giving priority to applicants who have an interest in green living.

To do this we'll be looking for people who can demonstrate an interest in things such as car sharing or using public transport, actively recycling or taking part in green, community projects.

We would also like the residents of these homes to work with our Community Empowerment Team as “green ambassadors”, to encourage sustainable living in the surrounding community too.