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Is Passivhaus the Key to Sustainable Housing?

Updated: Apr 11

In the field of sustainable residential architecture, The Passivhaus Standard is recognised as

a beacon for energy efficiency and environmental responsibility. For self-builders and developers in the UK, this innovative approach to construction offers a host of benefits, providing a blueprint for creating homes that not only significantly reduce energy

consumption but enable inhabitants to live healthier and more comfortable lives.

In this blog post, we’ll explore the advantages of embracing Passivhaus principles for those undertaking the exciting journey of self-building from an ESG and planning perspective.

When the Passivhaus methodology was developed over 30 years ago in Germany, it sparked a worldwide architectural movement. In recent years, there has been a surge in the

popularity of new-build passive houses in the UK ( Feb 2022 there were over 1500 passive houses in the UK - The Guardian). As the desire to tackle climate change and respond to volatile energy prices becomes more urgent, that trend looks to continue. 

What are the benefits of a Passivhaus?

1. Passivhaus Energy Efficiency

The primary focus of Passivhaus's design is energy efficiency. Through orientation, meticulous insulation detailing, airtightness, and high-performance windows, self-builders can significantly reduce the energy demand of their homes. The result is much lower energy bills. 

While passive houses are, on average, 10 -15% more expensive than a conventional build, they are a sensible choice economically in the long run and command higher market values.

2. Comfortable Living Spaces

Passivhaus's design prioritises occupant comfort with high insulation levels and airtight construction, ensuring consistent temperatures throughout the year.

3. Health and Well-being

Continuous mechanical ventilation with a heat recovery (MVHR) system ensures constant room temperature and fresh, filtered air, reducing allergens and pollutants.

4. Beautiful Modern Living

One of the main principles of Passivhaus design is orientation to the sun. With expansive glazing in the right places, direct energy from the sun will provide more than half of the energy required to heat a home. The result can be stunning and light-filled living spaces.  

5. Passivhaus Energy Efficiency

By investing in The Passivhaus Standard, self-builders are future-proofing their homes against increasing energy prices. The reduced energy demand means less reliance on external energy sources, providing a sense of security and sustainability.

6. Meeting Building Standards with a Passivhaus

Building regulations in the UK will only become more stringent regarding the energy performance of new homes, with further updates to regulations due in 2025 with the Future Homes Standard. Designing to meet the Passive House Institute’s -  PHPP Passivhaus standards guarantees developers meet the required standards and enhance the market value of their homes.

7. Passivhaus Low Carbon Footprint 

Lower energy consumption translates to reduced greenhouse gas emissions. Incorporating renewable technology can make passive houses perform better than net zero – selling renewable energy back to the grid.

8. Passivhaus Planning Permission

It is a significant strand of current planning policy that supports low-carbon development to meet the challenge of climate change. This can be the deciding factor in whether or not planning permission is granted for marginal proposals. In our experience, Passivhaus can be the key to achieving planning permission and potentially unlocking the development potential of challenging and complex sites. Salmon Planning has a team of expert planning consultants who will pinpoint the planning benefits of your low-energy housing proposal throughout the planning application process.

At Salmon Planning, we can design buildings to non-Passivhaus standards that meet Net Zero Carbon requirements that are increasingly becoming embedded in several local plans adopted by local planning authorities. The city of Bath is an example of this trend.

9. Why build a Passivhaus?

For self-builders and developers in the UK, the decision to embrace Passivhaus principles goes beyond simply constructing a beautiful and comfortable home - it’s about

building a sustainable future.

The numerous benefits, from energy savings and comfort to environmental responsibility, make building a Passivhaus an attractive choice for those looking to create a home that is both a sanctuary and a testament to responsible living.

Salmon Planning Company is a certified Passive House Designer and specialist in planning consultancy and high-quality architecture. 

Contact us to discuss your passive house architecture, designing and planning needs.


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