benchmarked building efficiency

passive house standard

True North Construction are one of the Northeast region’s few specialists in the construction of homes built to the Passivhaus standard

We are members of the Passivhaus Trust and are certified Passivhaus builders so you can trust that we are familiar with the techniques involved in building a home to this standard and understand the values and benefits of this type of construction.
We appreciate the time and effort that will have already gone into the design stage of your home and understand the importance of selecting and working with the right materials to achieve the technical standard and aesthetic you are aiming for. With our team of multi-skilled tradespeople and links to appropriate suppliers and sub-contractors, we can guarantee your project will be completed to a high standard both in finish and reaching the Passivhaus criteria critical to this type of construction.
We appreciate the challenges a build like this creates and understand that it is close attention to detail and highly skilled site management which produces the results intended. True North Construction prides itself on our close teamwork with our clients, architects, structural engineers and tradespeople to always produce the best quality work and we understand that with a build as intricate as a Passivhaus it is this cohesive approach which will always bring the desired results.
Take a look at the award-winning Godwit House, the UKs most Northerly Passivhaus to see what we can achieve for you…

Film by Fly Films UK | 

What is the Passivhaus standard?

A Passivhaus building is designed to use considerably less energy in comparison to a similarly-sized building created using conventional techniques, irrespective of the climate.

The Passivhaus Institute (PHI) is a German-based independent research institute founded in 1995 by Dr Wolfgang Feist. They played an important role in the development of the Passivhaus (literally translated to passive house or passive building in English) concept and have gone on to become a leading authority on the research and development of construction methods, building materials, planning tools and quality assurance needed to produce highly energy-efficient buildings.

So what is a Passivhaus?

This is the term used to refer to buildings created with certain principles that allow them to become incredibly energy efficient and maintain an almost constant internal temperature. As a result you end up with a highly sustainable building with minimal heat loss and thus very low energy bills.

In order to produce a certified Passivhaus you need certain elements:

  • Insulation – this needs to be fitted all-round and uninterrupted to a greater level than the UK standard for typical properties thus minimising heat loss and eliminating thermal bridges in the walls, floor and roof.
  • Triple glazing – again, this will minimise heat loss. Your architect should also have discussed the positioning of windows and glazed doors within the design to maximise solar gain and minimise heat loss in the winter months and minimise solar gain in the summer.
  • Airtightness – Passivhaus builds need to have airtightness levels around 20x greater than a standard new build would have, again the aim of this is to maintain minimal heat loss.
  • Mechanical ventilation – a mechanical ventilation heat recovery (MVHR) system is needed to circulate fresh air within the building whilst also minimising heat loss.
  • The form factor refers to the shape of the building and is calculated as the ratio of the external surface area to the internal usable floor area. A more compact design will make it cheaper and easier to achieve the Passivhaus standard.

passivhaus benefits

High standard = low maintenance
Passivhaus is much more rigorous than traditional building. As a result the house will require less maintenance and repairs over time.
Uniform temperature
The MVHR system ensures that heat is spread evenly throughout the house. The triple glazed windows are free of any cold radiant effect.
Reduced heat demand = smaller heating system
The heating system in a Passivhaus is typically 1/4 the size of that in an equivalent building.
Free of condensation, damp and mould at 17°+
Passivhaus requires all surfaces within the building envelope to remain above 17°C+ without any input from the heating system. 17°C is the dew point of water. As a result all Passive houses are free of condensation and resultant mould.
Triple glazed windows have excellent sound insulation qualities making Passivhaus an ideal choice for noisy locations that were previously deemed unsuitable for housing.
Go off-grid with renewables
Passivhaus is so efficient that it is possible to go off-grid with Heat Pumps and Solar Panels.
Supercedes building regulations
Passive House takes a holistic multi-strand approach to building design and construction. It strives to achieve high efficiency in several areas to reduce overall consumption. It supersedes all UK planning and building regulations, locking in low energy bills and protection from energy cost inflation.
Several materials will be layered to provide excellent performance for the lowest cost and narrowest width. Materials will be carefully selected for the required breathability and weather-tightness of their intended location within the building.
Thermal Bridge-Free Design
Thermal bridges are building elements that transfer heat from within the building envelope to the unheated exterior. These function as heat sinks, drawing heat out of the building day and night causing high heating bills. Most traditional buildings have thermal bridges as they were not considered during the building design process until fairly recently. Remedying them usually requires extensive building work.
Mechanical Ventilation With Heat Recovery (MVHR)
MVHR recycles the heat within your building while ensuring a constant supply of fresh oxygen to every room. It filters pollen and toxins from the air. It works silently in the background to move passive heat generated in the kitchen and bathroom to the rest of the house. An MVHR system rated at 30W consumption will recycle approximately 270W of heat from the air. MVHR does not perform in draughty buildings. Passive houses require an airtightness of 0.6 air changes per hour or less. This is ten times less draughty than UK building regulations require!
Triple Glazed Windows With Insulated Frames
Meeting the Passive House standard requires high performance windows with insulated frames. Although they may look the same as normal windows, these windows will do a much better job at keeping you warm and preventing condensation. They reduce the heat load of the building and improve comfort.


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Unit 14D Atley Way, Cramlington, Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom, NE23 1WA


07493 802277