MEDIA RELEASE: Experts welcome adoption of Passivhaus Standards for new homes by Scottish Government

Breaking(ish) news: We did it! 😁

There's still a load more work to do that this becomes the Bill we want it to be, but this is a nice early Xmas present 😀


MEDIA RELEASE – 19/12/22  

Experts welcome adoption of Passivhaus Standards for new homes by Scottish Government 

A range of experts have welcomed the Scottish Parliament’s announcement that it intends to table a bill to bring Passivhaus equivalent standards into legislation for new buildings within the next two years. [1]

Passivhaus buildings are recognised globally as highly energy efficient, providing a high level of occupant comfort minimal energy for heating and cooling.

The legislation, which was proposed by Alex Rowley MSP (Scottish Labour, Mid Scotland and Fife), will be titled the Domestic Building Environmental Standards (Scotland) Bill and, with backing from Scottish Labour, the SNP, and the Scottish Greens, is expected to pass easily.  

The Bill calls for all new-build housing to meet the Passivhaus standard (popularised in Europe) or a Scottish equivalent, as a means to improve energy efficiency and thermal performance. [1]

The news has been welcomed by a team of researchers from the Built Environment Asset Management (BEAM) Centre at Glasgow Caledonian University, Common Weal, The Energy Poverty Research initiative (EPRi), and practicing Architect Dr Richard Atkins, who have been working with Alex and the former Scottish Labour Deputy Leader, Neil Findlay, to support the development of the Bill and lobby the Scottish Parliament to commit to passing it.

Dr Keith Baker FRSA, a Research Fellow in Fuel Poverty at the BEAM Centre, Convenor of Common Weal’s Energy Working Group, and a Co-founder of EPRi said, 

“This announcement has come as an early Christmas present.  Whilst we await the final shape of the Bill, it stands as a great example of what can be achieved through cross-party working. Although the numbers of new homes being built in Scotland is a tiny fraction of those that urgently need to be retrofitted, if we are to meet our climate change and fuel poverty targets, the new Bill will mean that all new homes will be future-proofed, and it paves the way for much-needed standards for whole house retrofits.

Alex and Neil are due a lot of credit for how the Bill was developed, and in particular for conducting an excellent consultation exercise where our expert input was genuinely listened to and understood. I now hope that the Scottish Government will adopt the same high standards of engagement as the legislation moves forwards.”    

Dr Craig Dalzell, Head of Policy and Research at Common Weal, said,

“I greatly welcome this announcement and look forward to working with the Scottish Government to ensure that the "Scottish equivalent" of Passivhaus standards also meets requirements on zero carbon construction, local sourcing of materials and on ensuring that buildings fit properly within the Circular Economy.

I've long said that the easiest but most impactful policy of any Green New Deal strategy would be adequate building standards. [3] Not only will they greatly improve the lives of anyone living in such homes - as opposed to suffering a cold one in the winter - every building that we construct now that falls below such adequate standards is one that will need to be retrofitted later at much greater time, expense and complexity than would be consumed by just doing things right first-time round.”

Prof Rohinton Emmanuel, Director of the BEAM Centre, said,

”Appropriate building standards is fundamental to building level energy management.  This first step towards managing the new build must be followed up suitable approaches to manage the energy consumption, carbon emission and fuel poverty in the existing stock to transform the entire built assets to be fit for a net zero and affordable future.”

Dr Richard Atkins RIBA, FRIAS, FRSA said,

“This is a big step forward to ensuring a fabric first approach, to minimise the energy that Scottish buildings use, making it viable to ensure that, that energy can be distributed, comes from renewable sources and is affordable.

The mechanisums needed to set and deliver appropriate standards of performance are all in place and this represents an enormous opportunity to create more skilled, well rewarded sustainable construction jobs and businesses delivering a more sustainable Scotland.”

Dr Ron Mould, a Co-founder of EPRi and member of Common Weal’s Energy Working Group, said,

“A move towards a Passivhaus standard has to be welcomed. This standard treats the whole energy needs of our homes in maintaining a healthy environment through the use of heating, cooling and ventilation. Healthier homes is something to aspire to though the costs for retrofit will be high and require significant support from the Scottish Government.”


For additional information and further comment, please contact Dr Keith Baker: +44 (0) 7884125540 |


Notes to the editors:

[1] [3] The announcement was made via Twitter:

[2] Full details of the proposal can be found here:

[3] Common Weal first called for Passivhaus standards in the response to a 2018 Scottish Government consultation: