ICDP Architects are currently working on passive house projects according to principles developed by the Passivhaus Institute in Germany and can be certified through an exacting quality assurance process.

The Passivhaus is a sustainable construction concept that provides for affordable, high-quality buildings as well as comfortable, healthy living conditions, that allow for heating and cooling related energy savings of up to 90% compared with typical building stock and over 75% compared with average new builds.

The principles are:

  • Excellent Insulation

  • Highly insulating windows

  • Thermal bridge free design - to prevent cold spots

  • Airtight construction – to minimize heat loss and improve comfort

  • Heat recovery ventilation – to improve air quality and retain heat

  • Solar gain and good orientation – to provide heating for the building


Appropriate windows with good insulation and a building shell consisting of good insulated exterior walls, roof and floor slab keep the heat during winter in the house – and keep it out during summer.

The insulation is applied without any “weak spots” around the whole building so as to eliminate cold corners as well as excessive heat losses, preventing damages due to moisture and providing high level of comfort during cold and warm months with reasonable construction costs archived using  energy sources inside the building such as the body heat or solar heat entering the building – making heating a lot easier.

A ventilation system consistently supplies fresh air making for superior air quality without causing any unpleasant draughts. A highly efficient heat recovery unit allows for the heat contained in the exhaust air to be re-used.

  • Passive Houses require less than 15 kWh/(m²yr) for heating or cooling

  • The heating/cooling load is limited to a maximum of 10 W/m2

  • Conventional Primary energy use may not exceed 120 kWh/(m²a) - but the future is renewable energy supply (PER) with no more than 60 kWh/(m²a). This is easy to accomplish with passive houses.

  • Passive Houses must be airtight with air change rates being limited to n50 = 0.6/h.

  • In warmer climates and/or during summer months, excessive temperatures may not occur more than 10 % of the time.