Scotland set to mandate Passivhaus for new homes

New regulations supporting performance standard due in 2024

Scotland looks set to be the first part of the UK where all new homes will have to meet the Passivhaus standard, after the Scottish government agreed to adopt the ultra-low emissions benchmark. 

Alex Rowley, a Labour member of the Scottish parliament, submitted a private member’s bill during the summer to mandate the Passivhaus standard, or a Scottish equivalent, for all new-build housing in Scotland. The Domestic Building Environmental Standards (Scotland) Bill was in response to a recommendation by the Scottish Climate Assembly. 

In a letter to Rowley on 15 December, Scottish zero carbon buildings minister Patrick Harvie confirmed that the government would implement the standards within two years through secondary legislation. Work on developing the new standard will start early this year, with a view to laying the new regulations before parliament in mid-December 2024. 

Responding to Harvie’s letter, Passivhaus Trust CEO Jon Bootland praised the ‘truly forward-thinking approach’ taken by the Scottish government. ‘They are to be applauded for taking this crucial step towards meeting their net zero/climate emergency goals,’ he said. ‘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.’

Rowley said: ‘We have the knowledge and technology to build houses fit for the future, with occupant comfort 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. This will help future-proof housing stock, save people money and tackle our climate emergency.’