Passive House legislation
In the following section you will find a list of cities and administrative districts that already stipulate the Passive House standard in their building regulations. This list is always growing. If you know of any further cities or regions that are implementing the Passive House Standard in their building regulations, please let us know by sending an email with a link to: email@example.com.
The Passive House Institute has also published a position paper with recommendations detailing how cities and communities can effectively take their commitment forward.
The International Passive House Association and the Passive House Institute provide a variety of tools for policy makers and relevant actors.
Defining the Nearly Zero Energy Building: Passive House + renewables - PassREg Municipalities lead the way
An accesible informational brochure providing strong examples of how municipalities can implement NZEBs through the use of Passive House and renewables. Ideal to be shared with local policy makers and municipal representatives in assisting in defining the Nearly Zero Energy Building.
A comprehensive report showing the planning reliability of the Passive House Standard and its suitability for municipalities to avoid the performance gap!
iPHA does not take any liability for the correctness of the information below.
On 23 January 2008, the State Parliament of Lower Austria resolved to implement the Passive House Standard for all public buildings. This directive applies to both new builds and retrofit projects. The State Parliament of Lower Austria budgeted 130 million euros to complete these construction measures. Read more (in German)
In October of 2007, several municipalities in the Austrian state of Vorarlberg pledged to plan and construct all new public buildings to the Passive House Standard. These municipalities are Altach, Bregenz, Dornbirn, Frastanz, Götzis, Hörbranz, Krumbach, Langenegg, Mäder, Rankweil, Thüringen, Wolfurt and Zwischenwasser. An excerpt of the Passive House legislation of the city of Altach may be taken as an example: “The city of Altach resolves that all public new builds are to be built to the Passive House Standard. […] A specific heating demand of 15 kWh/m2 is to be demonstrated by means of the Passive House Planning Package (PHPP); the use of active cooling systems is to be avoided.” Read more (in German)
As per its “Passive House Declaration” of 2008, the city of Wels will ensure that all new builds and future retrofit projects will include renewable energy and energy efficiency goals. New builds are to be both conceptualized and constructed according to the Passive House Standard. When retrofitting existing buildings, Passive House Components (insulation, windows, ventilation with heat recovery) are to be used and the Standard is to be achieved. This policy applies to all developments maintained and administrated by the city of Wels and the Wels GmbH holding company. Read more
With its new Energy Performance and Indoor Environment in Buildings Regulation, the Brussels Capital Region has adopted the targets of the European Energy Performance of Buildings Directive that calls for all buildings to be Nearly-Zero Energy Buildings by the end of 2020, 6 years ahead of time. Brussels' new regulation is based on the Passive House Standard, making it mandatory for all new builds as well as all retrofits as of January 2015. Read more (in French) | Read more (in Flemish)
The province of Antwerp announced on 7 June 2013 its decision to apply the Passive House Standard in all public new builds and complete renovations. This is a concrete step towards the implementation of the EU's Energy Performance of Buildings Directive. This decision also supports the province's own climate plan, which aims to reach carbon neutrality by 2020. Read more (in Flemish)
According to the Draft Resolution of 16 July 2008, the city of Aschaffenburg committed itself to the implementation of sustainable energy-saving measures in municipal buildings as per its “Aschaffenburger Energiespar-Offensive”. Points 1 to 3 of this 16 point plan stipulate that all new builds are to be built to the Passive House Standard:
1) All new municipal builds ought to be constructed to meet Passive House Standard requirements. Deviations from this norm must be well-founded and carried out to an energy performance at least 25 percent better than that of the Germany national code (EnEV). Adherence to principles of economic and ecological sustainability is paramount.
2) Passive House training courses and excursions are to be attended by public servants and relevant departments of the City Council in order to illustrate the implementation, tendering, viability and quality assurance of the Passive House Standard.
3) The mandatory requirements for general refurbishments are target values of 25 percent below EnEV (the current energy-saving directive) as well as increased target values for thermal standards and component retrofits. Read more in German
State of Bavaria
On 19 July 2011, the council of ministers of the State of Bavaria passed legislation regarding energy standards for public buildings stipulating that all new build administrative buildings be constructed to the Passive House Standard. In special cases, such buildings will be chosen as pilot Passive House projects. Read more(in German)
The initiative, signed on 25 August 2009, came into force on 1 January 2010. It stipulates that all new public buildings owned by the city of Bremen must be built according to the Passive House Standard. The Senate emphasized that this measure facilitates the achievement of the city of Bremen’s target of reducing the CO2 emissions coming from public buildings by 50%. Read more (in German)
District of Darmstadt-Dieburg
The Da Di-Werk is in charge of construction, operation and maintenance of the 81 schools in the Darmstadt Dieburg district. Maintenance activities include all real estate properties, energy management as well as janitorial and cleaning services. According to the district’s guidelines for economy in building (Wirtschaftliches Bauen), published by the building management section of Da-Di Werk, all new buildings must be designed and implemented according to the Passive House Standard, achieving a maximal annual heating demand of 15 kWh/m2. Read more (in German)
As per the Resolution of 6 September 2007, the Magistrate will ensure that all new buildings belonging to the city administration including municipal facilities and enterprises together with all the buildings that will be constructed in as part of the “PPP-Modelle” programme in the city of Frankfurt, will be conceptualised to meet the Passive House Standard requirements. In the cases where the Passive House standard cannot be achieved, this should be justified. In all instances, the minimum energetic efficiency that will be aimed at is a third of the national EnEV norms demand. Read more (in German)
The city of Freiburg, with the resolution from 22 July 2008, determines that from 2009 onwards all new residential buildings will have to follow the KfW 40 standard. Furthermore, from 2011 onwards the Passive House standard will be mandatory. Read more (in German)
The Senate of Hamburg resolves: from 2012 onwards, municipal funding for new housing projects will be granted exclusively to Passive Houses. The municipal housing subsidies will thus gradually focus in the promotion of the construction of Passive Houses which do not use conventional heating. Read more about new builds (in German) and
One of Europe’s biggest and most innovative climate protection estates, consisting of about 300 terraced houses, semi-detached houses and detached single-family houses built to the Passive House Standard, is currently being constructed as a zero-emission estate in Wettbergen, to the south-west of Hanover. The remaining CO2 emissions for both the residual heating demand and the domestic electricity will be accounted for in a climate neutral fashion by the re-activation of an abandoned hydroelectric power plant.
Read more (in German)
New municipal builds are to meet Passive House criteria, as verified by the Passive House Planning Package (PHPP). Passive House airtightness values (N50 values of less than 0.6 air changes per hour) are to be ensured through a pressure test. When selling building plots owned by the city of Heidelberg, property buyers will be obliged to construct residential and commercial buildings to the Passive House Standard through a corresponding provision in their purchasing agreements. This provision will apply to properties sold after the “Energy Concept 2010” (Energiekonzeption 2010) comes into force. Exceptions to the Passive House Standard are permitted in case of technical or economic unfeasibility. The Passive House Planning Package (PHPP), which is to be submitted to the Municipal Agency for Environmental Protection, Trade Supervision and Energy (Amt für Umweltschutz, Gewerbeaufsicht und Energie) during the building permit application period, shall be the basis of the calculations. Read More (in German)
State of Hesse
As of September 2010, all public building projects must show energy performance that is, on average, 50% better than that stipulated by the national energy norms of 2009 (EnEV 2009), equal to Passive House levels of energy efficiency.
On 26 April 2010 the operating committee of the municipal building industry, together with the votes of the SPD, Green and FDP parties, resolved that as of that date, all new buildings in the city of Cologne must be designed under the Passive House concept. Read more (in German)
New municipal buildings must fulfill Passive House Standard requirements and are to be conceptualized accordingly (e. g., an annual heating demand of 75 percent). The Passive House Standard shall be met, whenever possible. In case this standard cannot be met for technical or economic reasons, a justification must be given. Read more (in German)
As part of its climate protection efforts, the city of Koblenz is committed to promote the implementation of the Passive House Standard. In the development area of Asterstein, at least 120 Passive House buildings are to be built. A majority of these properties is aligned to the south and allows for a great variety of innovative architecture. Read more (in German)
According to Resolution No. RBIV-1138/08 of 19 March 2008, the Mayor or the city of Leipzig is asked to ensure that all new buildings belonging to the city administration, municipal facilities and municipal enterprises, as well as all the new buildings of the “PPP-Modelle” programme in Leipzig, are built under the Passive House standard and are conceptualised accordingly. Read more (in German)
On 16 February 2009 the City Council of Leverkusen resolved that all new buildings to be constructed must reach the Passive House standard. Accordingly, the target output for old buildings will be to reach this standard to the 50%. Read more (in German)
District of Lippe
The administration is commissioned to plan and construct all new buildings to the Passive House Standard with a heating requirement of 15 kWh/m2. Passive House Components are to be applied when retrofitting existing buildings in order to achieve the Passive House Standard. Read more (in German)
Lohfelden – Lindenberg
The municipality of Lohfelden is currently in the final planning stage of the Passive House district Lindenberg. These energy-conserving and environmentally friendly Passive House buildings will take into account the locally stipulated climate protection targets. Read more (in German)
Construction of the student dorm “Boeselagerstraße“, one of Europe’s largest Passive House districts, was completed in May 2014. It provides housing for 535 students in total. Read more (in German)
According with the building guidelines of the city of Nuremberg, all new building projects will implement the Passive House Standard. In order to provide proof of this, the presentation of the current PHPP calculations is required. Read more (in German)
Offenbach Harbour – Mainviertel
For its new city quarter known as the “Mainviertel”, the City Assembly of Offenbach passed a resolution dictating that property buyers and developers sign an urban development contract with the city of Offenbach in which all parties commit to reducing the energy demand of the buildings through higher thermal standards. Passive House criteria are to be met for 50 percent of the gross floor area. Read More (in German)
State of Rhineland-Palatinate
As of 2010 and as part of the goal to have a CO2 neutral State administration, all plans municipal new builds and renovations must be analysed to see whether these buildings can be feasibly constructed as Passive House buildings.
Read more (in German)
State of Saarland
According to the coalition contract of the government of Saarland, all public new builds must be built to the Passive House Standard whereas the Standard will serve as a guideline for all renovations of public buildings owned by the State. Any deviation from this norm must be well founded. Read more (in German)
In 1993, the city of Ulm resolved to implement increased thermal standards for new builds within the municipal area. The new Passive House district "Im Sonnenfeld" is taking this trend to the next level: The city of Ulm, in co-operation with regional and supra-regional investors, architects, energy consultants as well as the building trade, built this development of up to 104 row and semi-detached houses completely to the Passive House Standard. Read more (in German)
The community council of Walldorf passed an energy programme on 20 July 2010 that requires all municipal new builds to be built to the Passive House Standard and to make use of renewable energy, where possible. All new buildings constructed on any property for sale by the city must achieve Passicve House Standard. Read more (in German)
Dún Laoghaire, Rathdown
Dún Laoghaire, Rathdown has become the first municipality in the world requiring full Passive House (with PHPP) for all new construction. The 2016-22 County Development Plan (CDP) requires all new buildings to be Passive House standard or equivalent. Read more
As of 2017, all residential new builds are required to be built to the Passive House Standard. Read more (in German)
In 2010, the city of Oslo resolved that as of 2014, all public new builds are to be built to the Passive House Standard. Read more
Villamediana de Iregua
In June 2013, the municipality of Villamediana de Iregua passed a master plan, mandating that all public new builds must fulfil the Passive House Standard. In addition, 10% of all dwellings built within new urban development areas must be passive. This master plan makes Villamediana de Iregua the first Spanish municipality to adopt the Passive House Standard in its urban development policies. Read more (in Spanish)
City of San Francisco
The City of San Francisco has included Passive House projects that aim for Passive House or EnerPHit certification in their list of options for fast-track planning approval.
Marin County, CA
The Marin County Board of Supervisors amended their building code in 2013 and included the following definitions: “Passive House” means a building that meets the Passive House standards as developed by the Passive House Institute, Germany, providing cost effective energy efficiency, indoor air quality, and comfort through modeling using the PHPP energy-modeling program. It further notes “The applicable green building rating system shall be that which is most recently adopted by Build It Green or the U.S. Green Building Council or the Passive House Institute.” The Marin code can be found here.
New York City, NY
Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a policy One City: Built to Last in September 2014, to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions from buildings city-wide by 2050. The policy states that New York City will look to “Passive House, carbon neutral, or `zero net energy’ strategies to inform the standards.” In fact, Passive House is the only building energy efficiency standard noted in the plan. Read the whole policy report here, and the NYPH press release here.
Community Board One in downtown Manhattan, an important civic leader, incorporating the World Trade Center, Wall Street, City Hall and Chinatown areas, in December 2014 overwhelmingly passed a resolution in support of the International Passive House Standard. It reads in part: “…CB 1 supports the investigation of the implementation of the PH Standard for its potential application to new construction and renovation in our community. It also encourages the completion of a public project in Lower Manhattan to demonstrate a zero-net energy standard and cost saving potentials…” Read the whole resolution here.
State of Pennsylvania
The Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA), formed by the Pennsylvania legislature to provide affordable homeownership, now provides incentives for Passive House compliance of multi-family buildings. Under heading of “Energy Efficiency Goals”, Passive House is the only standard listed, reading in part; “The development meets/will meet Passive House Certification for energy efficiency.” Read more