Passive house vs. passive design: sociotechnical issues in a practice-based design research project for a low-energy house

David Kroll, Sarah Breen Lovett, Carlos Jimenez-Bescos, Peter Chisnall, Mathew Aitchison

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Building performance simulation tools such as the Passive House Planning Package (PHPP) can be invaluable for improving energy-efficiency in housing design. However, achieving improved energy performance is also a sociotechnical issue, and how this is dealt with during the architectural design process seems less well studied. This collaborative design research project for a low-energy prefab house with an industry partner, a manufacturer of Structural Insulated Panels (SIP), is used as a case study to show that it is possible to achieve high energy performance while addressing specific socio-technical concerns within an Australian volume homebuilding market. A key issue that emerged in this project was the perceived tension between passive design expectations in Australia and those promoted through the Passive House software tool.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)361-371
Number of pages11
JournalArchitectural Science Review
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jul 2020


  • energy-efficiency
  • housing
  • Passive house
  • prefab
  • sociotechnical
  • Sustainable

Cite this