What is Passive House?

What is Passive House?

Passive House is a voluntary, global standard for buildings that aims to produce healthier, more energy efficient and more comfortable homes and commercial spaces.

Developed in Europe in the 1990s., the approach allows for a reduction of energy use of up to 90 percent compared to conventional buildings while offering occupants extremely high levels of comfort and environmental control.

The Passive House approach is suitable for buildings of any sort in any climate zone. While it radically reduces household energy consumption, the design and construction principles that underly it are based on solid science. Globally, the implementation of Passive House standards is overseen by Germany’s Passivhaus Institut, of which Smart Plus Academy is an affiliate.

What does Passive House do?

A dwelling designed according to Passive House standards clearly separates the indoor environment from the outdoors. While the external conditions and temperatures are likely to fluctuate considerably, inside the dwelling temperatures remain in a comfortable band between 20 and 25 degrees C. This is all achieved without the need for heating and cooling systems.

The Passive House approach allows you to achieve extraordinary control of your environment while also slashing your future energy bills and reducing your environmental footprint.

How is that done?

As the name suggests, Passive House buildings rely largely on ‘passive’ influences such as sunshine, shade and ventilation to achieve comfortable temperatures rather than air conditioning and heating. The approach involves creating a high-performing building ‘envelope’ tailored specifically to the site and local climate. Mechanical ventilation ensures the continuous flow of air into your living spaces, while energy harvesting and heat recovery keep internal temperatures comfortable.

While Passive House originated in Europe, it is suitable for any climate zone and extraordinarily comfortable and energy efficient homes have been built and are being built across Australia.

Passive House buildings are:


Passive House design principles can be applied to any domestic or commercial building, from the most humble home to the tallest skyscraper. The approach allows for extraordinary flexibility around building size, shape and materials.


Passive House construction techniques deliver a stable, liveable band of temperatures throughout the year, keeping occupants comfortable in all seasons. The combination of insulation and ventilation allows for noise-controlled, airy living spaces.


The Passive House approach allows home owners to tailor their environment to their needs – and moods. You have the flexibility to open up the house to enjoy the morning birdsong or shut things down to keep out noise from neighbours or bushfire smoke.


Poorly ventilated spaces can sap the energy of occupants and promote the spread of damp, mould and mildew. A key aspect of the Passive House approach is continuous ventilation which circulates oxygen, energises occupants and helps eliminate toxins and spores.


Most modern houses use far more energy than is necessary. Collectively, the world’s buildings account for some 39 percent of CO2 emissions. The Passive Houses approach reduces the energy required for a comfortable home environment by up to 90 percent.


Comfortable, more sustainable living doesn’t need to be expensive. You can take your first steps towards embracing Passive House principles with an investment equivalent to one take-away coffee a day.

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