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The benefits of having a Passive House

Having built the first oak frame Passive House (also know as ‘Passivhaus’) in the UK, we recognise that there are a growing number of self-builders seeking to improve the performance of their new homes.

As the fastest growing energy performance standard in the world, Passive House is an approach which delivers exceptional standards of insulation and airtightness. The construction methods used achieve much lower ‘U-values’ in comparison to a house that meets standard Building Regulations. The doors and windows are also specified with a limiting ‘U-value’ to balance both heat loss, and useful solar gain, and are carefully installed without gaps and draughts that reduce performance.

There are many benefits for you when having a Passive House, primarily the house can use up to 90% less energy compared with one that meets standard Building Regulations, significantly cutting your energy bills. A Passive House also has a constant supply of filtered, fresh air and maintains a stable temperature all year round.

Realistically in the UK, some sort of heating source will be advisable. However, very little heat that is generated will escape through the walls, floors and roofs due to the quality of the construction, meaning that the heating input required will be minimal.

When designing to the Passive House standard, the buildings form factor needs to be considered. The more corners you have in a property, the higher the ratio of internal volume to external wall becomes. The standard is therefore easier to achieve with simpler house shapes but you shouldn’t let that stop you. If you would like a more complex design, it is achievable but you have to consider compensating in areas such as better performing windows and increased levels of insulation.

The UK’s first oak frame PassivHaus Photo credit: Oakwrights

The cost of building a Passive House is likely to be slightly more than your average self-build, however in the long term; you will save money through reduced energy bills. When starting the process of designing a Passive House, our in-house architectural team can advise you and evolve your idea to suit your requirements. Our team can also work with external architects and third party construction experts to develop your house with the added beauty of an oak frame. Our encapsulation (wall insulation) systems surpass the basic Passive House standard in terms of performance. We can adapt the encapsulation to meet your individual requirements and ensure your property meets the Passive House criteria while still achieving your design brief.

For a house to qualify to Passive House standards, there are specialist organisations which have been approved to assess and issue the Passive House certificate. They will follow a process involving an initial check during the design stages followed by a final assessment.

Written by Dave Bryan, Architectural Designer

To discuss your oak frame Passive House requirements call 01432 353353 or email


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