Passivhaus Affiliate

Delivering the Scottish Passivhaus equivalent

The Scottish Government's proposal to introduce design standards for all newbuild housing to meet a Scottish equivalent to the Passivhaus standard goes out to consultation in summer 2024 and is due to be adopted as legislation in December 2024. To support this process, the Passivhaus Trust has set out its key recommendations for how the Passivhaus equivalent policy could be delivered in Scotland. 

Scottish Passivhaus equivalent graphic


Passivhaus Trust recommendations 

The Passivhaus Trust recommends that:

The Scottish Equivalent to Passivhaus should be:

  • Introduced into Scotland with a transition period to allow for training and industry preparations.
  • Based on the full Passivhaus standard, adapted into a Scottish-owned version that will include localised weather data.
  • Designed and built by the existing, local supply chain, with training and support for key sectors (such as ventilation systems) where needed.
  • Verified/ certified through Local Authority Verifiers and Section 6 Assessors, who will receive appropriate training to add this to their skills.
  • Supported with funding for social housing providers, through a modification of additional supported measures within affordable housing investment benchmarks.

Certified Passivhaus buildings should be accepted as “Deemed to Satisfy” the new regulations from January 2025, to create a positive incentive for the industry to start the transition immediately.


Training at BE-ST

Central to its recommendations is the need for a transition period for the construction industry to prepare for the policy. This is to allow for upskilling and training during a realistic timeframe once the industry has clarity on the exact policy requirements. The Passivhaus Trust is clear that the Scottish Passivhaus equivalent policy should be based on the full Passivhaus standard and its metrics, so that Scotland can benefit from the tried and tested international methodology. As a positive incentive to encourage speedy adoption, the Trust is also suggesting that buildings built to the Passivhaus standard are considered 'deemed to satisfy' Scottish building regulations from January 2025,

Training in Passivhaus design and construction is readily available in Scotland, but the Trust has also identified a specific additional training need for ventilation system engineers, and training for those involved in certification. To maintain the rigorous quality assurance standards of Passivhaus and embed them into a Scottish context, the Passivhaus Trust is proposing that Local Authority Verifiers and Section 6 Assessors are trained to undertake the quality assurance for the Passivhaus equivalent standard.

To support the transition, the Passivhaus Trust proposes that social housing providers receive additional funding, through a modification of additional supported measures within affordable housing investment benchmarks. In addition, the Trust will encourage and support knowledge-sharing of cost-effective approaches, to help speed up the learning curve process.

Sarah Lewis Research & Policy Director at the Passivhaus Trust commented:

"Scotland is leading the way in developing building standards that will radically cut heating bills, improve indoor air quality and comfort, and deliver quality homes that perform as designed. The Passivhaus Trust is here to support the Scottish Government and construction industry's move towards a Scottish Passivhaus equivalent standard. We have identified numerous ways that we can help the Scottish construction industry through that transition.

We have been impressed with the can-do attitude of the construction industry involved in delivering Passivhaus schools in Scotland. However, we need time to ensure that the Scottish construction industry is fully prepared and ready to deliver Passivhaus equivalent homes at scale, so have identified that a transition period is essential."

Caitriona Jordan, Head of Retrofit Programmes at  Built Environment - Smarter Transformation (BE-ST) said:

Since March 2021, BE-ST has upskilled over 3000 people in Passivhaus standards and the fabric first approach. It is really useful to identify the key training needs for the uptake of a Scottish Passivhaus equivalent policy. It is possible to close the skills gap, train the workforce in Passivhaus, and meet the needs for implementation of the new building regulations at scale. BE-ST is ready to help make that happen.”
Passivhaus is the leading international low energy building standard. Modelling undertaken for the Passivhaus Trust has shown that the Passivhaus standard reduces heating demand in homes by 79% compared with current Scottish building regulations (Section 6 2023).

Further information

Scottish equivalent to Passivhaus: FAQs

Proposed Domestic Building Environmental Standards (Scotland) Bill

Previous PHT story: Dalmarnock does it right! - 11 April 2023

Previous PHT story: Passivhaus taking off in Dumfries & Galloway - 1 March 2023

Previous PHT story: Scotland mandates Passivhaus equivalent legislation - 11 January 2023

Previous PHT story: Success for Passivhaus equivalent Scottish Bill - 19 December 2022

Previous PHT story: Scotland the brave! - 25 November 2022

Previous PHT story: Super-sized Scottish campus targets Passivhaus - 22 November 2022

Previous PHT story: Estate-wide EnerPHit-informed retrofit planning – 1 August 2022

Previous PHT story: Midlothian Council walks the walk! - 29 June 2022

Previous PHT story: Scottish Schools lead largescale Passivhaus – 8 April 2022

Previous PHT story: Passivhaus developments in Scotland – 20 February 2019


20th March 2024

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