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Denby Dale Passivhaus

First UK Passivhaus to be built with cavity wall construction and one of the first certified Passivhaus homes in the UK.

  • Cavity wall construction
  • 118m2 three-bed detached house
  • £141K basic build costs
  • Minimal heating – using 90% less energy for space heating than the UK average
  • Multi-award-winning!
  • Design and build project led by 21°
  • Later followed by the Golcar Passivhaus project, which developed some of the cavity wall detailing further

Future Passiv

A short film making the case for Passivhaus low energy building in the UK


The Denby Dale Passivhaus in West Yorkshire has sought to provide a solution to the urgent need to drastically cut the CO2 emissions from buildings in the UK and has tried to create a low-cost and easily replicable template for low energy Passivhaus construction, using techniques and materials familiar to British builders.

Built by 21°’s construction division – Green Building Company –  the project is the first certified Passivhaus in the UK to be built using cavity wall construction and has pioneered the combination of British vernacular construction methods with the German low energy Passivhaus design methodology. The original design details developed for the project can also be used as a template for the construction industry as to how to minimize  thermal bridging, improve energy efficiency and maximise the airtightness of projects built using cavity wall construction.

Passivhaus & UK policy

Denby Dale Passivhaus 5 years on

Technical Data

Final certification figures
  • Total floor area: 118m2
  • Treated floor area: 104.4m2
  • Heating requirement/ year: 15 kWh/m2/year
  • Heat load: 10 W/m2
  • Primary energy requirement: 87 kWh/m2/year
  • Airtightness: 0.33 ach @ 50 Pa (to Passivhaus and Euronorm standard)
U values
  • Exterior wall: 0.113W/m2K
  • Roof: 0.096 W/m2K
  • Ground floor: 0.104 W/m2K
  • Windows/ average: 0.8 W/m2K


In association with BUILDING magazine we contributed a regular blog from Project Leader Bill Butcher as the build progressed, highlighting along the way the special challenges – and pitfalls – of Passivhaus construction in a UK context.

Breakdown of costs

Living in the Denby Dale Passivhaus

The owners of the Denby Dale Passivhaus also write occasional blogs, which chronicle their experiences of living in one of the UK’s first Passivhaus homes. The blogs look at what it is like living with MVHR ventilation and ultra low gas bills and also hopes to answer such things as how to dry towels in a Passivhaus and whether you can open the windows etc.

Technical data

Denby Dale Passivhaus Technical summary

Denby Dale Passivhaus Factsheet

Denby Dale Passivhaus Monitoring and Performance report


RIBA Yorkshire White Rose Architecture Awards 2010

Sustainability Award, Housing Housing award, Architecture Award (Bronze), Client of the Year Award (Winner)

Sustainability Awards 2010

Sustainable Housing Project of the Year (Shortlisted)

SUSTAIN Magazine Awards 2011

Construction Award (Shortlisted)

Greenbuild Awards 2012

Breakthrough Award (Shortlisted)

RISE Awards 2015

Sustainable Developments(Domestic & Non Domestic) & Energy (Runner Up)

Life changing homes