Passive House

Brett Aylen Architecture / Passive House


A passive house is the most rigorous building performance standard in the world today. A home that’s been passively built has measures in place to maintain a comfortable temperature year round. They are filled with fresh air 24-7, and that manage this while consuming 70% to 90% less heating and cooling energy compared to conventional houses. 

A passivhaus (passive house in german) is becoming a global phenomenon for contemporary architecture. These designs utilise decades of research and have built over 60,000 buildings worldwide.


So, what’s it like to live in one of these homes?

In a certified passivhaus there is a continuous supply of fresh filtered clean air, indoor temperatures are always comfortable, and the energy used for heating and cooling is minimised. 

When the outside is too hot or too cold, too noisy or too polluted (by car exhaust, dust or pollen for example), you close the windows and fresh indoor air is supplied via a mechanical ventilation system with a high-quality heat exchanger. This means that you get continuous fresh air delivered to every room at low volume (so you can hardly hear it or feel it), in a very energy efficient manner. 

Thermal comfort is maintained and heating and cooling loads are minimized through passive measures such as improved insulation, high-quality windows, optimal use of passive solar energy and thermal mass, external shading, and limiting unwanted heat loss or gain by addressing thermal bridges. 


The benefits include:

  1. Healthy. With great indoor air quality – A heat recovery ventilation system ensures a supply of fresh, filtered, clean air all year round. With a passivhaus ventilation system, it delivers the air silently without drafts to every occupied space, and exhausts stale air where moisture or odours exist.
  2. Comfortable. With unprecedented thermal balance – Because of appropriate insulation and mitigation of thermal bridges, there are no cold or hot spots. Temperatures are stable and consistent from floor to ceiling, irrespective of the weather outside.
  3. Resilient. These homes remain habitable during a power outage in the dead of winter or during a summer heat wave for much longer than conventional buildings.
  4. Affordable to run. Due to low heating and cooling energy costs, these buildings are less expensive in the face of changes in energy pricing, technology and climate, providing a long-term assurance of affordability.
  5. Easy to operate. These buildings are designed so the building fabric (walls, floor, roof, windows, shading) works to keep the building comfortable. So they don’t need complicated and expensive control systems. It is about careful design, simple and durable systems, and quality construction.
  6. Quiet. You get a quiet home with acoustic separation from the street and neighbours thanks to the insulation, careful sealing and high performance windows all helping to cut out much of the exterior noise.
  7. Access to finance.  Additionally, they’re great for interest rates on borrowing as in many instances they would qualify for Clean Energy Home Loans, for example:

“Most of us spend a large percentage of our lives indoors so people are increasingly thinking more closely about air quality in our homes and workplaces. A passive house design have mechanical ventilation systems that deliver clean, fresh air to each occupied space all year round. Improving ventilation is one of the key ways to keep indoor environments safe and healthy.” (1)

Brett Aylen is a certified Passive House designer and a member of the Australian Passive House Association. designers

If building a home that is comfortable year round, healthy to live in, and energy efficient to run is important to you, then please give our team at Brett Aylen Architecture a call today, or click the button below to book your free consultation. 

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