Passivhaus Affiliate

Council adopts Passivhaus Plus for all future homes

Pioneering move makes Herefordshire Council the first in the UK to adopt Passivhaus Plus for all new council housing.

Herefordshire Council


Herefordshire Council plans to adopt the Passivhaus Plus standard for all future new build council homes. Whilst Herefordshire joins several other local authorities that have embraced Passivhaus for council housing, this policy appears to be the first that proposes the Passivhaus Plus (which includes renewable energy generation) as standard for UK council housing.

The council committed to the county being carbon neutral by 2030. The new Herefordshire Future Homes (HFH) policy, launched in September 2021, sets out a progressive plan to govern future council housing developments and council retrofit schemes across the county.


Herefordshire Future Homes will be healthy for residents, eliminating cold, mould and damp, and minimise fuel bills, tackling fuel poverty and making these homes truly affordable to live in. A small additional upfront investment will pay for itself through lower long-term costs.

Herefordshire Future Homes policy

Map of Herefordshire. Image credit: Google Maps


Certified Passivhaus Plus

All newbuild council homes will be certified to Passivhaus Plus standard, with predicted total energy use of less than 45 kWh/m2/year. The highly energy-efficient homes will have integrated PV solar electric panels - or other on-site renewable energy - and storage. Heat-pumps or other low carbon heating shall be implemented, avoiding gas boilers, gas cookers or other fossil fuels.


A key element of the standards is ‘Passivhaus Plus’, which certifies that homes generate as much renewable energy as they use, through a combination of energy efficiency measures and forms of renewable energy generation and storage, such as solar panels. Not only is this good for the environment, it also increases the value of a house, meaning a greater return on investment for the council, for developers, and for homeowners.

Councillor Ange Tyler, Cabinet member for Housing, Regulatory Services, & Community Safety, Herefordshire Council

Post-occupancy monitoring

Post-occupancy monitoring will be carried out on at least 50% of the homes at 1, 2 and 5 years from completion to ensure proper performance. Monitoring will include:

  • Energy use
  • Carbon emissions
  • Running costs
  • Maintenance & other costs
  • Occupants’ satisfaction 


Low embodied carbon

Low embodied-carbon construction is recommended in the HFH policy, aligned with LETI and RIBA 2030 targets. To achieve true net zero, residual embodied carbon emissions from the new homes will be offset through a parallel programme of retrofitting local, existing homes to Passivhaus EnerPHit or AECB standards.


The Herefordshire Future Homes standard is a great example of a triple-win policy – it’s good for people, the planet, and the economy!  These new homes will be warm, cosy and cheap to live in; they’re good for the climate and for nature; and they will create new high-skill construction jobs.  At a time when we’re worrying about climate change and about increasing fuel bills, these council houses are showing what all new homes could and should be like.

Councillor Ellie Chowns, Cabinet member for Environment & Economy, Herefordshire Council


In addition, all sites should have a One Planet Living Action Plan describing how exemplary environmental practice is included across ten principles, including ecology, water, green travel, and zero carbon.


One Planet Living Framework. Image credit: Bioregional


Wider impact

Herefordshire Council hopes that the HFH policy will 'help to raise building standards of private sector and other local housing providers. Clear, consistent and ambitious HFH building standards from the outset will optimise building efficiency, minimise design and construction costs, and give confidence for local industry capacity-building.'

Good design and high levels of energy efficiency from the council will also provide a blueprint to other developers in Herefordshire, helping to spread the best possible practice.

Councillor Ange TylerCabinet member for Housing, Regulatory Services, & Community Safety, Herefordshire Council

Primrose Park in Plymouth Carrowbreck Meadow ©Jefferson Smith Knights Place, Gale & Snowden

Certified Passivhaus social housing schemes. (Left to right) Primrose Park, Plymouth City Council. Carrowbreck Meadow, Broadland District Council. Knight's Place, Exeter City Council.


The Trust is delighted to see such ambitious plans being put forward. These policies have the potential to tackle the rising energy bill crisis and the climate crisis at a meaningful scale. Read more about the multi-pronged benefits that building to Passivhaus brings here. 


Passivhaus Benefits Guide


Further information

Herefordshire Future Homes

Passivhaus Benefits Guide

Passivhaus Social Housing

Passivhaus Plus & Premium

Herefordshire Future Homes policy document

Herefordshire Future Homes Overview

21st February 2022

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