Basic concepts to understand insulation and airtightness

What’s the difference between an NZEB and a passive house?         

The terms passive house and Nearly Zero Energy Building (NZEB) both refer to designing buildings that require very little energy to run comfortably, i.e. low energy bills.  

      In the context of house building, a big difference is that NZEB is specifically referred to in Part L of the ROI building regulations, defined as a building with a very high energy performance that gets the very low amount of energy it still requires mostly from renewable sources, on site or nearby. 

      In practice, this means building a house that retains heat very well and installing some form of renewable system(s), usually in the form of a heat pump or solar panels. 


Written by Astrid Madsen

Astrid Madsen is the editor of the SelfBuild magazine. She previously held the same role in an Irish trade publication, before that she worked at the National Standards Authority of Ireland. She graduated with a BA in Urban Studies from Columbia University in New York and holds an MBA from the Instituto de Estudios Bursatiles in Madrid. France of origin, she now lives in Portarlington, County Laois, where she's taken on the task of renovating a listed building! Email

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