Passivhaus Affiliate

Pitched perfect

Conservation area aesthetic requirements resulted in a dual-faced design for the Pitched Passivhaus selfbuild in Dulwich. A contemporary elevation at the rear is combined with a traditional Arts and Crafts elevation at the front and includes a false chimney concealing the MVHR ventilation system.  

House Tour: Pitched Passivhaus from RDA Architects on Vimeo.

A dilapidated 1930s house in a south London conservation area has been replaced by a newbuild Passivhaus certified home. One challenge was to meet the brief for a clean, contemporary home whilst respecting the street vernacular. The initial modern-leaning designs were met with resistance due to conservation requirements, resulting in a dual-faced design solution developed by PHT member RDA Architects. The east elevation, fronting the street,  has a brick façade reflecting a traditional Arts & Crafts aesthetic, while the west elevation opens into a contemporary, open-plan designed space. 

Key stats

  • Construction: CLT

  • TFA:  367 m2 

  • Build start date: 2021

  • Completed: 2022

  • Certified: Passivhaus, 2022

Pitched Passivhaus, Dulwich. Image credit: RDA Architects


This project shows that Passivhaus’s are feasible even in the strictest of residential areas, and sets a great example for sustainable homebuilders in the future. Our biggest challenge was ensuring that the home not only met our client’s brief – a super modern, open plan Passivhaus – but met the incredibly strict parameters put in place by the Dulwich Estate. This led to some really interesting problem solving, like hiding the MVHR in the chimney and utilising a dual-faced design to sit in line with the street’s aesthetic.

Richard Dudzicki, Director, RDA Architects

VPitched Passivhaus, Dulwich. Image credit: RDA Architects


The house was built using a modular, off-site Cross-Laminated Timber (CLT) system. This method offered several advantages, including precision, reduced construction waste, and minimal environmental impact. The CLT system offered easy integration with Passivhaus energy efficiency and airtightness requirements.


One of the great things about using a modular offsite CLT system is the efficiency of the build. The main construction of the building only took three weeks, which helped us make sure we met our deadlines and kept the momentum of the build moving swiftly while keeping our embodied carbon as low as possible.

Richard Dudzicki, Director, RDA Architects

Pitched Passivhaus, Dulwich. Image credit: RDA Architects

Embodied carbon

Material choices and construction methods were guided by the PHRibbon tool's embodied carbon analysis. The use of CLT as the main construction method helped reduce the project's embodied carbon. 


Floor: 0.095 to 0.154 W/m2K                             

Polished concrete, beam and block

Pitched Passivhaus, Dulwich. Image credit: RDA Architects

Wall: 0.079 to 0.217 W/m2K

CLT & insulation, full brick

Roof: 0.092 to 0.162 W/m2K

CLT & insulation, ceramic roof tiles 


Building performance

Designed energy performance 


Airtightness n50 (≤ 0.6ACH @ 50 Pa)                           


0.5 @ 50 Pa


Space Heating Demand (≤ 15 kWh/m².a)


13 kWh/m².a  


Heating Load (≤ 10 W/m²)


8 W/m²


Primary Energy Renewable (PER) Demand (≤ 60 kWh/m².a*)    


25 kWh/m².a


Primary Energy Renewable Generation


13 kWh/m².a


*+/-15 kWh/m².a allowance if offset by energy generation. See Passivhaus criteria


Pitched Passivhaus, Dulwich. Image credit: RDA Architects
Pitched Passivhaus, Dulwich. Image credit: RDA Architects Pitched Passivhaus, Dulwich. Image credit: RDA Architects


An air source heat pump supplies heating to the home while an MVHR ventilation system delivers optimal indoor air quality. The MVHR supply and extract ducts are disguised in the false traditional chimney. The house is equipped with smart technology for controlling heating, hot water, and ventilation. 

The roof's raised pitches accommodate solar PV panels. A pergola in the garden offers summer shading to avoid overheating. 


Key team 

  • Architect: RDA Architects

  • Passivhaus Consultant & M&E Consultant: Ecospheric  

  • Contractor: Pawel Polowiec

  • Structural engineer:  Michael Hadi Associates

  • Passivhaus Certifier: MEAD Consulting

Pitched Passivhaus, Dulwich. Image credit: RDA Architects

This is the latest in several award-winning Passivhaus homes by PHT member RDA Architects. To discover more self-build Passivhaus projects, visit one this June in the International Passivhaus Open Days..


You may also like 

How to build a Passivhaus
Passivhaus goes personal
International Passivhaus Open Days


Further information 

Pitched Passivhaus

Passivhaus Benefits Guide & costs research 

Passivhaus goes Personal

NSBRC Passivhaus workshop 

International Passivhaus Open Days 2024

Previous PHT story: Old Timberyard gets new lease of life – 14 November 2022

Modernist EnerPHit Plus: 2023 UK Passivhaus Awards Finalist

Passivhaus Mews II: 2018 UK Passivhaus Awards Finalist 

Chiswick Eco Lodge: 2016 UK Passivhaus Awards Finalist

2nd April 2024

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