Advantages and disadvantages of passive house construction

Published on 01/25/2022

Compared to other construction methods, the passive house has strengths and weaknesses to be studied carefully

Passive house construction: a really interesting option?

Building experts continually tout the merits of the passive house as being environmentally friendly, convenient and cost-effective. What is it really? Overview of this construction formula.

Presentation of the passive house

It is a building with impeccable insulation to meet heat needs in winter and regulate the thermal atmosphere in summer. The ambient temperature of this type of building must adapt to the weather and the seasons, avoiding cold and overheating. Specialists have developed this technique to solve problems related to the heating of traditional houses. Indeed, the heating system mobilizes polluting energy for the atmosphere, hearing, sight and smell. Clearly, the air released contains greenhouse gases, while the noise and scents emanating from heating are disturbing. Moreover, it is sometimes cumbersome and disturbs the interior decoration of the house.

Passive house labeling criteria

The passive house is a construction technique used by building experts such as the new house construction company in Belgium and accompanied by 'a label. To obtain a certification, it must comply with 3 requirements:

  • a heating requirement limited to 15 kWh/m²/year
  • primary energy consumption of less than 120 kWh/m²/year
  • airtightness up to n50<0.6/h

Characteristics of a passive construction

It has specific properties that distinguish it from other construction formulas (low energy house, positive energy house and traditional house). The passive house has significant qualities: insulating, energetic, ecological and economical.


The insulation of the passive house comes from the materials inserted in the walls as well as in the joinery. Added to this is the provision of triple-glazed openings that let in natural sunlight, an additional heating contribution. Also, it is necessary to take into account the joints between the frame and the doors or windows with a perfect cohesion between each element, as well as the elimination of thermal bridges to optimize the insulation. Finally, there is air impermeability to significantly reduce heat loss. The passive concept uses a ventilation mechanism called "double-flow" which consists of regaining heat from the air leaving the house to assign it to the air coming inside.

Energy consumption

New modes of energy consumption replace the old ones that run on fossil fuels . The exploitation of this one proves harmful for the environment and as it runs out, the engineers preferred to turn to a source of energy in constant renewal: the solar one. For example, the passive building uses a thermodynamic CMV to provide heating and a solar water heater to supply hot water. These power supply methods have been adopted in order to limit the energy consumption of these constructions. However, one clarification is in order: these expensive systems will never become beneficial for a low heating requirement.

Ecological performance

This type of infrastructure is environmentally friendly as it uses very little energy, especially when made from natural materials. Only, the price of these materials considerably increases the total cost of the work (more than 300 euros per square meter). Positive energy buildings (BEPOS) demonstrate better energy performance as they produce more energy than they consume. The ideal is to build a passive house and then equip it with appliances running on green energy to obtain optimal energy consumption.


In terms of construction costs, the passive solution mobilizes much more funds than the RT2012 construction. On the other hand, the energy bills of the second slightly exceed those of the first and the price of replacing the heating equipment and the maintenance of the RT 2012 house is much higher. In fact, the passive house pays for itself in the long term while the RT 2012 building has immediate economic advantages.

Photo by Valentin B. Kremer and Francisco Mamani/Unsplash


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