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Digital Subscriptions > Build It > December 2017 > Should you build a Passivhaus?

Should you build a Passivhaus?

This design and build standard is a popular way of ensuring an energy efficient result, but is it the right solution for your selfbuild? Emily Smith investigates
Top & inset: After seeing some properties designed to Passivhaus standard, John and Jeanette Fenwick were inspired by this way of producing a bespoke house that would be extremely thermally efficient and cheap to run. The home’s performance is so impressive that it was crowned a winning project at the UK Passivhaus Awards 2016

At the beginning of the 1990s Professors Bo Adamson of Sweden and Wolfgang Feist of Germany came up with a building standard that aimed to optimise energy performance, which they named Passivhaus. The first dwellings using their calculations were constructed in 1991 and today there are over 50,000 Passivhaus structures across Europe. But the concept is still fairly new to the UK, where only 800 buildings have been certified – so what exactly is Passivhaus and why should you consider using it?

What is Passivhaus?

It’s a specific way of designing and constructing a building that aims to reduce space heating/cooling demand, and consequently energy consumption, while still ensuring the rooms have excellent air quality and comfort levels. A Passivhaus’s design and build process needs to follow guidelines set out in the Passive House Planning Package (PHPP) which specifies limitations for different areas of the property, from heat demand to U-values.

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About Build It

The December edition of Build It magazine is packed with practical advice and inspirational projects to help you make a success of your scheme, including: • A budget-friendly self-build home (page 20) • Underfloor heating vs radiators (page 69) • Getting lighting right (page 77) • 10 steps to self-build design success (page 81) • Does your plot have real potential? (page 96) … and more!