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Passivhaus Q&A Series: Is Passivhaus a brand?

This post is part of our series that shares questions we regularly receive about Passivhaus and low energy construction. We will be posting a new one every week. Explore our Blog to learn all about why designing buildings to low energy standards like Passivhaus delivers a lot more than just energy savings.

Passivhaus: Energy-Efficiency Standard, Not Brand
Passivhaus: Energy-Efficiency Standard, Not Brand

The term "Passivhaus" is frequently encountered when discussing energy-efficient construction. But is Passivhaus a commercial brand or something else? This post will clarify the concept behind the name.

The Origins of Passivhaus:

Passivhaus (or "Passive House" as it's known in English) originates from Germany and is a set of building principles centered on energy efficiency and comfort. Developed in the late 1980s by Dr. Wolfgang Feist, the Passivhaus standard is designed to drastically reduce the energy requirements of buildings. Its core lies in rigorous insulation, airtight construction, optimal orientation for passive solar gain, and the use of efficient ventilation systems.

So, Is It a Brand?

In short, no. Passivhaus is not a brand in the commercial sense, like "Coca-Cola" or "Apple." Instead, it's a building standard – a collection of design and construction criteria that aim to achieve exceptional energy efficiency.

However, there are certifications associated with the Passivhaus standard. The Passive House Institute (PHI) in Germany, founded by Dr. Wolfgang Feist, provides certification for buildings that meet the stringent criteria. Similarly, various products, like windows or ventilation systems, can also achieve Passivhaus certification, indicating they're suitable for use in such a construction.

While the term isn't a commercial brand, its growing reputation for sustainability and energy efficiency has given it a brand-like identity in the building sector.

Certification and Quality Assurance:

For a building to be officially recognised as a Passivhaus, it has to undergo certification. The process ensures the design and construction adhere to the specified standards, leading to the desired energy savings and comfort levels.

There are several certification bodies globally that assess buildings based on the criteria set by the Passive House Institute. Achieving this certification not only guarantees the building's performance but also adds value, as more individuals recognise the benefits of living or working in a Passivhaus.

Passivhaus vs. "Passive House":

While "Passivhaus" is the original German term, "Passive House" is its English counterpart. In many English-speaking countries, both terms are used interchangeably, although "Passivhaus" often indicates adherence to the original, strict German standards. However, the core principles remain the same: creating a building with minimal energy demands.

Why the Confusion?

Given the rising popularity of energy-efficient construction, various terms and phrases have emerged that echo the sentiments of sustainable living. Some might see phrases like "eco-house," "green building," or "zero-energy home," leading to some confusion. But while all these concepts share the broader aim of sustainability, the Passivhaus standard is specific in its criteria and objectives.


Passivhaus is not a commercial brand but rather a rigorous building standard, focusing on achieving superior energy efficiency and comfort. Its certification process and distinct principles set it apart in the world of sustainable construction. When you encounter the term "Passivhaus" or "Passive House," think not of a branded product, but of a holistic approach to creating comfortable, energy-efficient spaces for living and working.


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