Buildings in different climate zones and local conditions

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The Passive House Standard, being a quality standard, dictates no particular methods of construction. Whether solid construction, wood or composite - architects can design Passive Houses according to their own preferences. Even manufacturers of prefabricated houses are offering Passive House designs. The versatile Passive House Standard is also increasingly being used in retrofits as well as for non-residential buildings such as schools, administrative buildings, manufacturing plants and hotels. As the Passive House concept is based on physical principles, each building can and should be adapted to its particular

With over 37,000 Passive Houses in use worldwide (as of 2012), the Passive House Standard is rapidly spreading all over the world. As of today, Passive Houses have been built in nearly all European countries , the United States, Canada, and Japan – to mention but a few. And this number is on the rise! "The Passive House Standard is spreading rapidly around the world. The great potential of the energy concept is positively assessed, especially in areas where there is extensive experience in the building of passive houses. The concept of the passive house can be applied under different climate conditions and regional construction techniques" says Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Feist - founder of the Passivhaus Institut in Germany .(1)

Most experience with Passive Houses is available from Central Europe. Can Passive Houses also be built in warmer climates, where hot and possibly humid conditions prevail in summer? A theoretical study dating from 2009 has considered this question in great detail for the warmer climates of south-west Europe. The major finding is that indeed buildings which can provide high thermal comfort in both winter and summer by solely heating, cooling and/or dehumidifying the supply air required for good indoor air quality can be realised here. Some key results from the study are given on this page. First, it is important to note that, like in central Europe, space heating is the dominant energy demand in most climates of the Mediterranean. On a European level, the annual energy demand for residential space cooling is still relatively small, but major problems are expected due to the strongly growing market for air conditioning devices. High peak loads, which are bound to occur simultaneously in all households of a larger region, tend to cause blackouts already today. Therefore, addressing both heating and cooling demands is essential. (2)

Climate in Europe

Climate map of Europe.png

The climate of Europe is of a temperate, continental nature, with a maritime climate prevailing on the western coasts and a Mediterranean climate in the south. The climate is strongly conditioned by the Gulf Stream, which keeps mild air over the high latitude northwestern region over the winter months, especially in Ireland, the UK and coastal Norway. Whilst Western Europe has an oceanic climate, Eastern Europe has a drier, continental climate. Parts of the Central European plains have a hybrid oceanic/continental climate. Four seasons occur in Eastern Europe, while southern Europe experiences distinct wet season and dry seasons, with prevailing hot and dry conditions during the summer months. (3)


Oceanic climate (Köppen climate classification Cfb)

Zero e-Park, Hannover (DE)

Passive House Social- and office building Karl-Wiechert-Allee (DE)

Primary school in der Steinbreite (DE)

Nenndorfer Chaussee - modernization (DE)

Louvain-La-Neuve Childcare Centre (BE)

Saint François Street (BE)

Oakmeadow Primary School (UK)

Ebbw Vale (UK)

Continental climate (Köppen classification : Dfb)

Lodenareal, Innsbruck (AT)

Olympic Village, Innsbruck, Tyrol, Austria (AT)

Passive House Disk Salzkammergut (AT)

Mediterranean climate (Köppen Csa);Continental Mediterranean climate (Köppen Csa)

Townhouse - Barcelona (Cataluña) (ES)

Draft of a Passivhaus in Granada (ES)

Office building Cantera de Empresas (ES)

See also

Examples of passive house

Passipedia Passive Houses in different climates

Passive Houses in South West Europe

1st Passive House Architecture Award book

The Passive House Concept for Different Climate Zones(presentation of Jessica Grove-Smith Passivhaus Institut, Darmstadt)