All new homes in Scotland to be built to Passivhaus standard, ministers confirm

Luxury new house being built in rural countryside
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All new build homes in Scotland will have to be built to the equivalent of Passivhaus standard, Scottish government ministers have confirmed.

Homes built to Passivhaus level meet high standards of airtightness, insulation and energy efficiency, however the Scottish government has confirmed it is introducing its own 'Passivhaus equivalent' rather than using existing Passivhaus certification.

This Scottish equivalent will introduce minimum environmental design standards for new build homes to ensure they have high energy efficiency and thermal performance.

The Scottish government says it will implement the new standards within two years through secondary legislation. Development work will commence early in 2023 before the amendments are bought into regulations by December 2024.

It is understood that the new legislation will cover custom and self build homes as well as those built by housing associations, councils or the private sector.

“It seems obvious to me we should be doing this”

The announcement follows Labour MSP Alex Rowley’s proposed private member’s bill earlier this year, called the Domestic Building Environmental Standards (Scotland) Bill, which called for the Passivhaus standard to be applied to every new home built in Scotland. 

Mr Rowley proposed the Bill in response to recent recommendations from the Scottish Climate Assembly, which was set up by the Scottish Parliament in 2020 to provide recommendations to tackle the climate crisis. 

When asked, 97% of the Assembly voted in favour of the eco home Passivhaus standard for new build projects in Scotland being introduced within five years.

In response to heat in buildings minister Patrick Harvie confirming the Bill would implement these standards, Mr Rowley said: “I am very happy that the Scottish government has taken the opportunity to put my proposal into law.

“We have the knowledge and technology to build houses fit for the future, with occupant comfortability as a priority at a fraction of the heating costs of a standard build house now – it simply seems obvious to me that we should be doing this.”

A Passivhaus Trust spokesperson added: “It is fantastic to hear the Scottish government has committed to bringing forward a bill requiring higher energy-efficiency standards in domestic buildings, which also recognises the need to assure occupants that the design and construction of these buildings will deliver the actual performance sought in practice. 

“Statements including ‘a Scottish equivalent to the Passivhaus standard’ and ‘explicit support for Passivhaus and equivalent standards’ fill us with hope. Now we must ensure that the bill is well developed and implemented to deliver the greatest impact on the actual performance of new homes in Scotland.”

Jack Woodfield
News Editor

Jack has worked in journalism for 11 years and is the News Editor for Homebuilding & Renovating, a role he has had since 2019. He strives to break the most relevant and beneficial stories for self builders, extenders and renovators, including the latest news on the construction materials shortage and hydrogen heating. In 2021 he appeared on BBC's The World at One to discuss the government's planning reforms. 

He enjoys testing new tools and gadgets, and having bought his first home in 2013, he has renovated every room and recently finished a garden renovation.