The benefits of the Passivhaus approach are most apparent at this time of year, when it is bitterly cold outside and the low winter sun is streaming in through south facing windows. Simply put, this is what it is all about, capture our powerful solar energy, welcome it inside and hold onto it so that it couldn’t possibly escape.

The key to using Passivhaus principles is simple, thoughtful robust design. Orientate to capture maximum solar gain, optimise insulation and construct an airtight structure.This design technique ensures minimal heat is lost from the building, indoor draughts disappear, air quality is optimised all contributing to a comfortable internal environment.

Passivhaus is not a new concept, originating in Germany in the 1990’s, it is a process borne from government funded research projects. It is now a leading international low-energy design standard, which can be applied to both new and old buildings. This tried and tested concept is rapidly progressing world-wide, where to date the number of completed Passivhaus buildings is circa 70,000 worldwide and 250 in the UK.

The Passivhaus assessment method provides an approach that is quality assured, ensuring that Passivhaus buildings really deliver good quality, durable, buildings with a reduced energy use throughout the year. A multitude of housing associations in the UK are embracing Passivhaus knowing its application results in significant reduction in energy bills and addresses fuel poverty. From small-scale self build projects, both new build and refurbishment, through to large-scale housing developments, schools and offices, Passivhaus is driving real innovation in design and construction, across all regions of the UK.

The Passivhaus Trust can provide guidance on Passivhaus in the UK, and design support can be obtained from Certified Passivhaus Designers/ Consultants. A full list of consultants in your area can be found on the Passivhaus Institute website, as follows: http://www.passivhausplaner.eu/mitgliederdatenbank.php