Number of certified Passive House square metres reaches one million mark

Press Release
9 December 2014
Number of certified Passive House square metres reaches one million mark
Energy efficient construction standard now applied throughout the world
Darmstadt, Germany. Building owners throughout the world are increasingly turning to
the Passive House Standard. This autumn the number of square metres that have been
certified internationally based on the highly efficient standard reached one million. The
symbolic threshold was crossed with the certification of a detached house in Santa Cruz in
California, USA. Almost 25 years after the construction of a prototype house in Darmstadt,
tens of thousands of tenants and home owners continue to benefit from the low heating
costs and high level of comfort provided by Passive Houses – on almost all continents and
in practically every climate zone.

The building in California with the "one-millionth
Passive House square metre".
Photo: Kurt Hurley
The Passive House Institute issued a special
certificate for the refurbished building in California,
noting the milestone achievement. The 90-year-
old bungalow was converted by the owners into a
future-oriented model while still retaining its outer
appearance. In their Blog they report on the
technical details of the renovation and the results
for their energy consumption values on a regular

To date, the Passive House Institute has issued certificates for just over 10 000 units in
Passive House Standard. However, the certification is voluntary, meaning that the total
number is much higher and there are no solid statistics available. "In principle, anyone can
build a Passive House", says Zeno Bastian, Head of Building Certification at the Passive
House Institute. What matters is compliance with the clearly defined criteria for energy
consumption. How this is achieved depends on the climate; in Central Europe the most
essential measures include thermal bridge free construction, an airtight building envelope, a
ventilation system with heat recovery, triple-glazed windows and excellent thermal insulation .
"The primary purpose of certification is quality assurance", says Bastian. "With this inter-
nationally recognised seal, buildings owners are safe in the knowledge that the desired
savings for heating costs and added benefits of a Passive House will actually be realised".
With reference to the architectural design, the Passive House Standard does not specify
any particular type of construction – and the principle works for every type of building use.
1Certified projects are accordingly diverse. To date, the largest building built to the Passive
House Standard is an office tower in Vienna which has a useable area of almost 21 000
square metres. The smallest Passive House, certified at the end of November, is a building
in France near Rennes with a floor area of just eleven square metres. Most Passive Houses
are located in Central Europe, but construction based on this principle is increasingly
spreading to other parts of the world; in addition to many buildings in North America and
Eastern Asia, as well as pilot projects in South America and Central America, the first
project in Australia was certified this past November.
The adoption of the Passive House Standard, especially in Europe, is expected to gain
traction substantially in the coming years. In 2021, when the EU Buildings Directive comes
into effect, the so-called "Nearly Zero-Energy Building" will become standard for all new
buildings. This will be achievable through a combination of the Passive House Standard
with the use of renewable energy. With savings of up to 90% in heating costs, this building
standard does not only represent a meaningful solution for the energy revolution but is also
economically attractive for building owners.

The largest Passive House building in the world: the
"RHW.2" in Vienna.
Photo: Passive House Institute
The first of just three Passive Houses in Australia.
Photo: Passive House Australia / Sustainable Building Resources
The smallest Passive House in the world, in
Amanlis near Rennes, France.
Photo: Hinoki
The first Passive House was built in 1990 in
Darmstadt, Germany. Photo: Passive House Institute
Press Contact: Benjamin Wünsch | Passive House Institute | +49 (0)6151-82699-25 |