What is Passive house?

Passive House, often referred to as ‘PassivHaus’ in Europe; is a certifiable international performance standard. It is a high-performance buildings standard that focuses on energy efficiency and sustainability. It emphasizes a rigorous approach to design and construction, aiming to create structures that require minimal energy for heating and cooling.


Key principles include:

1. Precision building orientation

2. Excellent insulation

3. High-quality windows

4. A balanced ventilation system

5. Airtight building envelope


All of which work together to maintain a comfortable and consistent indoor climate while drastically reducing energy consumption. Passive House buildings are environmentally friendly, cost-effective, and provide superior comfort and indoor air quality for occupants, making them a cutting-edge solution for sustainable and energy-efficient building design. The certified Passive House Standard ‘EnerPHit’ can be applied to existing buildings in renovations, making our built environment more efficient.

Benefits of Passive house:

Building a Passive House offers a multitude of benefits, making it an attractive choice for eco-conscious homeowners and builders.


1. Your project is fully thermally modelled in the design stages, meaning the proposed design meets the reality of the constructed result.

2. Significantly reduce energy consumption, leading to lower utility bills and less environmental impact. See the EPC chart to compare the energy requirements of a Passive building against the median home in England & Wales (D1 & D2.)

3. Superior indoor comfort, with stable temperatures and excellent air quality, excellent acoustic performance, ensuring a healthier and more pleasant living environment.

4. Passive Houses are built to last, requiring minimal maintenance, which translates to long-term cost savings.

5. Reduced energy demand contributes to a decrease in greenhouse gas emissions, helping combat climate change.


In essence, a Passive House not only saves money and enhances comfort but also plays a crucial role in a more sustainable and environmentally responsible future.


Formative Architects & Passivehouse

Formative Architects were early adopters of passive technology and have held accreditation from the PassivHaus institute in Germany for over 10 years. We advise clients on the benefits of the passive approach from first principles which influences the design process. We model projects in PH design 3D allowing us to calculate the performance of proposed designs with accurate climate data and orientation. We then export this info to PHPP software allowing us to tweak the design to achieve the desired performance.

More recently we have applied the knowledge gained amalgamating our one off Passive House projects with our extensive housing development knowledge for developer clients. Our development Lancaster Park located in South Belfast is the largest Passive house scheme in the UK & Ireland and the first of its kind ever attempted at this scale. The award winning project has pioneered the use of passive technology within the development sector and has set a new standard within the industry. In partnership with our clients Fraser Millar the scheme will deliver 219 Passive House Low Energy Building (LEB) homes. We see the future of housing as passive and large scale residential developments will have the biggest impact on the environment for future generations.