The Passive House Standard: How to achieve optimum air quality

  • 4 Aug 2015

The Passive House Standard focuses on delivering maximum air comfort and quality via post-heating or post-cooling the fresh air flow, without air recirculation.

To achieve the standard in a central European climate, a certain criteria must be followed from the planning process’ outset.

Passive House criteria

Space heating and cooling demand

All Passive House buildings should be able to achieve an annual heating and cooling demand of 15KWh/m2 per year – it should not exceed this.

Alternatively, a Passive House’s peak heat load must be below 10W/m2. 

Primary energy demand

Overall, the primary energy consumption for heating, cooling, domestic hot water and auxiliary and household electricity must not surpass 120kWh/m2 per year.

Passive House homes offer optimum air quality, maximising comfort for their occupants


A Passive House building must not leak more air than 0.6 times the house volume per hour.

If airtightness is not incorporated into the design of the building from the start, it is unlikely that it will obtain the Passive House Standard.

The criteria have been designed to ensure the delivery of low energy consumption, longevity and healthy air.

In addition to offering these benefits, a Passive House should be environmentally friendly and largely affordable.

The criteria are a logical process, working together to achieve the benefits. These guidelines should not be looked as a menu of mix and match options.

Delivering a Passive House

To obtain certification to the Passive House standard, it is recommended that designers seek the assistance of the Passive House Planning Package (PHPP).

Factors, such as solar design and landscape, should also be assessed.

High quality materials and fabrics should be used in the construction of the home, in order to ensure efficient thermal insulation and the elimination of thermal bridges.

Advanced window technology is also useful; meanwhile, mechanical heat recovery ventilation systems (MVHR) should be researched thoroughly to ensure that air quality and comfort is optimised.

Zehnder Group UK Ltd
Unit 4, Watchmoor Point
GU15 3AD

01276 605800

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