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The Gold Standard of Energy Efficiency
September 2021

The Gold Standard of Energy Efficiency

As Kiwis become increasingly aware of our environmental footprint, we’re moving toward building high performing, healthy and energy efficient buildings. The gold standard of this movement is the Passive House Model.

Far from a new concept, the idea of Passive Homes or Passivhaus, originated in Germany in the late 1980s when Physicist Dr Wolfgang Feist developed a building model that optimised insulation and the airtightness, to stabilise the internal temperature of a building.

The first official Passive House was constructed in 1990. 40 years later, over 70,000 certified Passive Homes have been built across Europe, America, England and Canada.


The Passive House model is an internationally recognised building standard delivering homes that require significantly reduced energy for heating or cooling. Incredibly, Passive Homes consume between 75%-90% less heating energy than a conventional house.

The Passive House methodology is underpinned by five key principles:

  1. Insulation
  2. High-quality windows and doors
  3. Thermal bridge-free detailing  
  4. Airtightness
  5. Mechanical Heat Recovery System (MHRV)

Designing a Passive Home requires thorough understanding of energy flows in buildings. Designers use The Passive House Planning Package (PHPP) to assess the impact of design changes accurately and instantaneously.