Passive housing with traditional construction

This is one of the most repeated questions among clients who come to the study asking for information about passive houses. Can a passive house with a traditional construction be built?


I understand by traditional construction the construction made with the materials of all the life, bricks, concrete, footings, and beams and forged and roof tiles. Then yes! You can make a passive dwelling with traditional materials.

An construction with walls with a lot of thermal inertia, using “traditional” strategies of energy harvesting, greenhouse lookouts, use of traditional style shading, the typical vine at the door of a house to provide shade in summer …etc. This, taken to current solutions is not only compatible, but highly recommended.

As for getting to the standard with traditional materials it is relatively easy if you put yourself in the hands of a good builder. He does not have to be an expert, but he does want to learn other construction techniques different from what he has done all his life.


In a house with a traditional construction, it is a very easy point to achieve, either by thickening the walls if it is a double sheet or by using insulation from the outside sate type on the outside of the brick or termoarcilla.

The main problem is to achieve continuity in the entire envelope of the insulation, but for that, in the key points such as the meeting between the facade and the floor can be placed special materials, like concrete with a very low thermal conductivity that does not interrupt the isolation.


What is clear and does not offer much discussion is that in a “traditional” construction the thermal inertia is very important.

A passive house with traditional materials, termoarcilla, concrete, etc., has much more inertia than a passive house with wood. And this point also helps when calculating the energy demand of the house.

Energy demand of a house with traditional construction: heating demand 13.3 kWh / m2 year. In this specific case, it is a house with a concrete structure in floors, a thermo-clay facade and a wooden roof, hence the value of mixed construction.