Passive house turns 30

Passive house turns 30

The passive house standard is celebrating its 30th birthday this year. The world’s first passive houses were built in Darmstadt, Germany in 1991.

This article was originally published in issue 38 of Passive House Plus magazine. Want immediate access to all back issues and exclusive extra content? Click here to subscribe for as little as €10, or click here to receive the next issue free of charge

They were designed by Swedish engineer Bo Anderson and the physicist Wolfgang Feist, who went on to establish the Passive House Institute, and who still lives in one of the Darmstadt passive houses today.

In the autumn of 1990, diggers rolled into action and work began on a building site that had been allocated for "experimental construction" by the city of Darmstadt. The new homeowners moved into the terrace of four passive dwellings the following year.

"Of course, I’m happy about this development: seeing the progress from the first experimental residential building to the projects and districts worldwide designed to the passive house standard,” said Wolfgang Feist, on celebrating the standard’s 30th birthday. But he warned that, “without significantly greater commitment on the part of the governments, there will be very little progress in energy efficient construction of buildings.”

He added: “The building sector must make a larger contribution. Many national construction standards still permit energy consumption that is much too high.”

This year also marks both the 25th anniversary of the Passive House Institute and of the International Passive House Conference.

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