KredEx has developed sample designs and guidelines for passive houses


According to the minimum requirements for the energy efficiency of buildings, all new buildings constructed in 2020 and later must comply with the requirements for passive houses. KredEx has developed sample designs and guidelines for residential passive houses, providing an overview of the construction practice directions and the technical solutions necessary for building passive houses.

Thus far in Estonia, contributions to energy efficiency have mainly meant wholesome renovation of apartment buildings. Now, a developmental leap has to take place in constructing new buildings. The reason is that the end consumption of energy in buildings has exceeded 50% of the total end consumption of energy in Estonia. For that, KredEx will continue directing the field of energy efficiency of residential buildings, including new buildings that have to comply with the requirements for passive houses starting from 2020.

According to Triin Reinsalu, Head of KredEx Housing and Energy Efficiency Division, the compiled material is useful for engineers and architects, but also for everyone else wanting to build their own home. “These are building designs and the accompanying guiding material prepared in cooperation with researchers and industry specialists and valuing new solutions, energy efficiency and interior climate. KredEx, as a client, wishes to enable the employing of reliable, feasible and knowledge-based energy efficient solutions through the creation of know-how,” said Reinsalu.

According to Jarek Kurnitski, a Professor at TUT, passive houses mean a new level of building quality, perceived by the consumers as lower energy bills and better interior climate. “The survey conducted in cooperation with designers and construction enterprises indicates that the feared increase of construction cost will not happen because the additional investments of a few tens of euros per square metre paid for themselves within reasonable time in all buildings.”

The guide materials include the manual for designing apartment buildings and small residences, discussing all topics important for energy efficiency. For example, the topics include the thermal insulation of exterior perimeters, preventing cold bridges, ensuring air tightness, opening fillers, effective ventilation and heating systems, as well as heat sources, automation, monitoring, and on-site production of renewable energy.

The included sample projects provide standard solutions for a smaller and a larger dwelling made of wood or stone, for a single semi-detached house, and for a larger and a smaller apartment building. The sample designs were prepared for concrete, small block and wood structures, as well as heating sources commonly used in Estonia, providing illustrative drawings and solutions for modules and technical systems.

The guideline and the designs for small dwellings are intended for clients ordering small dwellings, and for professional specialists in the field of designing and constructing small dwellings. The guideline and the designs for apartment buildings and semi-detached houses are intended for designers, builders and developers.

In addition to Tallinn University of Technology, the following parties were involved in preparing the materials: construction enterprises YIT Ehitus AS, Merko Ehitus Eesti AS, house manufacturers Matek AS, Timbeco Ehitus OÜ, property developers LAAM and Energiamaja, as well as design enterprises KAMP arhitektid OÜ, Arhitektuuribüroo JVR OÜ, QP arhitektid and Hevac OÜ.

The entire material is available on KredEx website at