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Passivhaus Powerhouses

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Tell us about your Passivhaus

As Passivhaus continues to grow both in the UK and the rest of Europe, some projects are being pushed even further than the original Passivhaus standard to meet net zero targets. In addition to the established ‘Passivhaus Classic’, there are ‘Passivhaus Plus’ and ‘Passivhaus Premium’ standards which include the use of renewable energy generation in the certification assessment.

Passivhaus Plus certified logo

  • PLUS: A building certified to Passivhaus Plus not only drastically reduces energy use, but it also produces as much energy as occupants consumes, turning them into Passivhaus Powerhouses. The energy generated must come from renewable sources and provide enough energy to operate the building throughout the whole year.

  • PREMIUM: Far more energy is produced than required to operate the building. Passivhaus Premium is therefore a challenging goal for the particularly ambitious: building owners and designers who want to go beyond what economic and ecological considerations already propose. 


UK Passivhaus Plus case studies

There has been a flurry of pioneering Passivhaus Plus schemes. Erne Campus has become the UK's first certified Passivhaus Premium project.

Certified  Passivhaus Plus

Carrstone House. Fulford Passivhaus Lark Rise Certified Passivhaus Plus, Buckinghamshire. ©Bere Architects
Leyburn Passivhaus Plus, York ©Paul White Red Bluff Two-Rivers-Passivhaus-Primary Passivhaus Plus © Bhagesh Sachania Photography
Zetland Road, Chorlton Manchester. Certified EnerPHit Plus Bristol Passivhaus Plus, Certified, Nailsea Bicester Eco Business Centre
Seaton Beach Developments Findhorn Passivhaus Plus Oxford EnerPHit Plus
Canterbury Passivhaus Plus Brambles, Passivhaus Plus Shepherds Barn EnerPHit Plus
Hackbridge Primary Passivhaus Plus Harpenden EnerPHit Plus St Edward's School Passivhaus Plus
Modernist EnerPHIT Plus Ferry Road, aiming for Passivhaus Plus Greenfield Passivhaus Plus. © AD Practice, Matthew Smith Architectural Photography

Certified  Passivhaus Premium

Erne Campus, aiming for Passivhaus Premium, Northern Ireland

In development

Kew Gardens Learning Centre Passivhaus Premium Little Plumstead, aiming for Passivhaus Plus Melton Mowbray Private Residential Passivhaus Plus
Norfolk Hamlet

Passivhaus Criteria

Passivhaus buildings prioritise energy efficiency, requiring very little energy to heat or cool. As can be seen from the criteria below, much is the same in the new classes. The building’s total primary energy is assessed, but split into demand and renewable energy generation.

The Plus and Premium classes can also be applied to the EnerPHit retrofit standard. Full criteria details on the new classes and how to achieve them can be viewed here.


 Specific building characteristics




 Space Heating Demand (SHD)

 ≤ 15 kWh/m².a

 ≤ 15 kWh/m².a

 ≤ 15 kWh/m².a

 Cooling demand
 (non-domestic buildings only)

 ≤ 15 kWh/m².a

 ≤ 15 kWh/m².a

 ≤ 15 kWh/m².a

 Heating / cooling load 

 ≤ 10 W/m²

 ≤ 10 W/m²

 ≤ 10 W/m²

 Airtightness n50

 ≤ 0.6 ACH @ 50 Pa 

 ≤ 0.6 ACH @ 50 Pa 

 ≤0.6 ACH @ 50 Pa 

 Primary Energy Renewable (PER) demand*

 ≤ 60 kWh/m².a

 ≤ 45 kWh/m².a

 ≤ 30 kWh/m².a

 Renewable energy generation


 ≥ 60 kWh/m².a

 ≥ 120 kWh/m².a

*As an alternative to PER, Passivhaus Classic projects can use the Primary Energy (PE) metric. The PE target to be achieved for Passivhaus Classic in the UK is 135 kWh/m².a. Read more on PE and PER here.


The Passivhaus classes | Passivhaus Trust


Pioneer Passivhaus project upgraded to Passivhaus Plus

The first Passivhaus in the world was built in Darmstadt-Kranichstein (Germany) 25 years ago by four private homeowners on their own personal initiative. Ever since the homeowners moved in with their families in 1991, these terraced houses have been regarded as a pioneer project for the Passivhaus Standard. Building physicists have attested to the unimpaired functioning of the first Passivhaus and its unchanged low heating energy consumption. With its installed photovoltaic system, the world's first Passivhaus now utilises renewable energy and received the Passive House Plus certificate for this reason.

First Passivhaus in the world in Darmstadt-Kranichstein, Image credit: iPHA

We are always interested to hear about Passivhaus schemes in the UK. If you have a Passivhaus project in the pipeline – let us know by completing and returning the project request form along with some images.


Further Information

Criteria for the Passivhaus, EnerPHit & PHI Low Energy Building Standards

Passivhaus: the route to zero carbon?

Getting to Net Zero: Online Course

Efficiency First

Evaluating Energy Use at Two Passive House Dwellings in the UK

World's first Passivhaus Plus Certified

How Passivhaus helps with delivery of NZEBs

Using Passivhaus to fast-track building electrification