The benefits of social housing to passive house standard


  • Passive House (PH) is a tried and true performance standard for building extremely low energy buildings.
  • The up-front costs are easily absorbed over the life time of the building because expensive plant is significantly reduced and does not require as much maintenance / replacement.
  • Many parts of Europe have a requirement for all their social housing & public buildings to be PH standard.
  • The PH system is most beneficial to those in our community who are struggling to pay for heating.
  • Through the PH Planning Package software building performance is guaranteed.
  • PH buildings are very comfortable and quiet with good air quality and high occupant satisfaction.

Benefits for social housing providers

  • Social housing providers would be showing leadership in building design.
  • A PH building would provide an excellent learning opportunity for other providers to learn about PH.
  • Tenants who currently cannot afford heating would be able to do so because heating bills would typically be less than one fifth or less compared with a typical Code built house.
  • For those tenants who are not heating their homes, the PH system would still provide a healthy home.
  • Because of the high surface temperatures achieved in PH homes it is not possible for black mould to grow.
  • Health issues arising from poor housing would be reduced meaning that there are benefits to other social health providers.

Thermal comfort and health

  • A PH building stays at a constant temperature throughout the year and there is little difference between summer and winter or day and night.
  • The internal thermal comfort can be controlled by occupants leading to fewer complaints.
  • The air quality is excellent.
  • There are very small variations of internal ambient temperature, so no cold / hot spots which annoy occupants.
  • PH houses are quiet without the constant noise of plant cycling through cooling or heating.
  • Once a PH has been ‘experienced’, it is very hard to accept anything less.

Energy / Operational costs

  • A Code standard house could consume over 100kWhr/m2/annum for heating but as a PH the building would consume less than 15KWhr/m2/annum.
  • There is significantly less heating plant to maintain and replace.


  • There are existing pre-fabricated wall systems that could be used that already have the windows installed together with an air-tightness layer for quick construction on site.
  • This project would also educate the construction community in the challenges and benefits of PH.
  • It is possible that local companies could supply some of the building elements such as windows.