Data set for "UK Passivhaus and the energy performance gap"

Homes contribute 22% of UK carbon emissions, 45% of which are primarily for space heating energy. Delivery of highly insulated homes, new build and retrofit, is needed to help meet the UK’s 2050 net zero carbon target. Similar policies are being adopted across the developed world to limit rising carbon emissions. Unfortunately, most new and retrofitted buildings use as much as 250% more energy than predicted by computer models at design stage, the so-called ‘energy performance gap’. Although emerging evidence suggests that buildings built to the low-energy Passivhaus standard do not demonstrate such a gap, data are often from small-scale forensic investigations. Here, we present the first large-scale systematic evaluation of this standard in occupied buildings using multi-year data from 97 UK Passivhaus dwellings spread across 13 sites. As frequency and type of data collection varies between sites, we adopt a pessimistic approach to the analysis by systematically over-estimating space heating demand in the presence of uncertain data. Results pooled across multiple years, show that mean observed space heating demand is 10.8 kWhm2a-1 (SD 9.1) with no statistically significant difference against predicted demand of 11.7 kWhm2a-1 (p = 0.43, d = -0.1). These results provide powerful evidence in favour of the Passivhaus standard as a reliable means of obtaining low-energy and low-carbon buildings and should be seen in the context that the space heating demand of the average UK home is currently about 145 kWhm2a-1 and a new build home about 50 kWhm2a-1.

This is a data set of space heating demand from 97 certified Passivhaus homes in the UK . The dataset is used to compare measured space heating demand with the predicted space heating demand generated at design stage using Passive House Planning Package. This comparison was used to demonstrate there is no performance gap ( difference between predicted and measured energy use) in Passivhaus homes. This is of interest as many new and existing homes in the UK use much more energy than predicted.
This evidence has been used to add weight to the argument that the Passivhaus standard should become the norm for the UK.

Civil engineering and built environment

Cite this dataset as:
Mitchell, R., Natarajan, S., 2020. Data set for "UK Passivhaus and the energy performance gap". Bath: University of Bath Research Data Archive. Available from:


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Summary of 1-3 years of measured space heating data for 97 Passivhaus dwellings in the UK

Space heating data with correction factors applied



University of Bath
Rights Holder


Data collection method:

This data collates data from three sources 1. Data from the Technlogy Strategy Board's Building Performance Evaluation Program, which is available on the 2. Data from Passivhaus consultants - this is not public data 3. Data from home owners - this is not public data. Data was collected using a variety of the methods, outline in the paper

Technical details and requirements:

Data was collated in R software


Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)

EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in the Decarbonisation of the Built Environment (DBE)

Publication details

Publication date: 12 June 2020
by: University of Bath

Version: 1


URL for this record:

Related papers and books

Mitchell, R., and Natarajan, S., 2020. UK Passivhaus and the energy performance gap. Energy and Buildings, 224, 110240. Available from:

Contact information

Please contact the Research Data Service in the first instance for all matters concerning this item.

Contact person: Sukumar Natarajan


Faculty of Engineering & Design
Architecture & Civil Engineering

Research Centres & Institutes
Centre for Doctoral Training in Decarbonisation of the Built Environment (dCarb)