Passivhaus Affiliate

Passivhaus Trust takeaways from COP26

The built environment is responsible for 35% of total global energy consumption. It has a vital part to play in decarbonising to mitigate the worst of the climate crisis. Whilst the final COP26 Glasgow Climate Pact may have been lacklustre, it did recognise the urgency of scaling up mitigation ambition and implementation.

  • A stronger commitment to limit global temperature rises to 1.5 degrees, and greater acknowledgement of the latest science which reflects the urgent need to take action during this critical decade.
  • The outcome launches a work programme on mitigation ambition and implementation and there will be an annual high-level Ministerial meeting on pre-2030 ambition. Both these steps are focused on accelerating action on mitigation during the 2020s.

As a voluntary standard in the UK – the Passivhaus community is all too familiar with pushing boundaries for the better without waiting for or relying upon Government backing. 

With support from long-standing Passivhaus supporters to those new to Passivhaus, we saw people of all ages getting involved in a variety of activities throughout the fortnight. From COP runs to site visits and open days, virtual pavilions, to school assemblies, we have seen an overwhelming call to action amongst the Passivhaus community. Here we round up our key takeaways from the global climate conference:


A beacon for the industry

The Trust's motivation and determination to drive the industry's shift to net-zero is officially recognised. We are delighted that the Passivhaus Trust, in partnership with the Sustainable Development Foundation (SDF) Alliance, is now officially 1 of 10 new UNECE (United Nations Economic Commission for Europe) International Centre of Excellence for High Performance Buildings. We signed alongside representatives from the UN, Scottish Government, Green Building Alliance, and others at COP26. We intend to focus on the challenges of scaling-up delivery of cost-effective,  high-performance buildings collectively with the SDF Alliance.

PHT CEO Jon Bootland signing on behalf of the SDF Alliance, with Olga Algayerova, Executive Secretary UN Economic Commission for Europe signing on behalf od the UNECE  -  the new UNECE International Centre of Excellence for High Performance Buildings



As part of our core objectives for the next decade, we intend to upskill at least 50% of the construction industry to deliver Passivhaus across the UK. Sarah Lewis, the Trust's Research and Policy Director, met with the Scottish Minister for Higher Education and Further Education, Youth Employment and Training to demonstrate training for built environment professionals to adapt to low-carbon building techniques. We hope that the Minister has taken away insights into how the construction industry can successfully meet climate pledges through Passivhaus. A £450,000 Low Carbon Learning programme, funded by the Scottish Funding Council through the National Transition Training Fund, has been launched.

Other Passivhaus educational activities were given a platform at COP26, including the Icebox Challenge Glasgow – helping to empower the next generation of designers and raise general awareness of the efficiency first campaign. The student design competition included a simple experiment to visually demonstrate the benefits of adopting Passivhaus in contrast with the inadequacy of current building regulations and standards.

Why Efficiency First?

PHT meets scottish minister for education Icebox Challenge Glasgow


UKGBC Net-Zero Whole Life Carbon Roadmap

Where do we go from here? Focusing on Whole Life Carbon is imperative to meeting climate pledges. UKGBC has led an industry working group in developing a roadmap to get us there. Launched on Built Environment Day at COP26, the report confirms that net-zero is achievable for the built environment sector by 2050. Passivhaus is part of this mission as the gold standard for high-performance buildings. The industry is coming together. This cross-industry collaboration has a powerful impact in supporting the urgent shift in practices and culture; Also recently reflected in the LETI retrofit guidance.

Net-Zero Whole Life Carbon Roadmap

Net Zero Whole Life Carbon Road Map- Specific emission reductions across sub-sectors of built environment to meet 2050 deadline.


Still to come

COP26 may have ended, but it is not over for the Passivhaus programme just yet! After exploring the climate emergency big picture in Glasgow, let's keep the momentum going and put our climate pledges into action! To prepare you with the Passivhaus tools and knowledge to deliver change, we have a line-up of recommended activities to round off the year:

2021 UK Passivhaus Conference: Delivering net-zero through Passivhaus

Southside Hereford: University Design Challenge 2022
Currie Community High School, Image credit: Dalgety Design for Architype Retrofit Masterclass: Solid Wall Construction


Further information

Passivhaus at COP26

Efficiency First Campaign

Previous PHT story: PHT meet Scottish Minister for Education at COP26 - 11 November 2021

Previous PHT story: PHT & the SDF Alliance sign up to the UNECE International Centres of Excellence - 03 November 2021

Previous PHT story: Passivhaus and the Sustainable Development Goals - 16 August 2021

Net Zero Whole Life Carbon Roadmap

SDF Exemplar Library

15th November 2021

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