The potential for the passive house standard in Longyearbyen – The high arctic




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Peer reviewed



Passive building design reduces a building’s energy consumption through mainly non-mechanical design strategies. The Passive House (or Passivhaus) Standard certifies such buildings that comply with its strict energy performance criteria. Achieving the Standard is very challenging for dwellings in extreme climates. There is limited knowledge of the Standard’s potential in Arctic regions, particularly the High Arctic. Through a review of the literature and energy modelling of a hypothetical dwelling, the challenges in achieving the Standard in Longyearbyen (78˚N), Norway are investigated. Very low temperatures and 112 days without daylight create a high heating demand. Whereas previous studies measured actual building performances or used simple calculations, the findings in this investigation show the limitations of individual design parameters and technical limits of the building envelope. In theory the Standard can be achieved in Long-yearbyen; however, the potential in practice is low due to the very tight margins in the heating criteria. The results show the significant impact of applying contextual (climatic) adjustments to the boundary conditions of the Standard. The investigation could contribute to a discussion on modifying the Passive House Standard for dwellings in the High Arctic and improving building design for the region.


The file attached to this record is the author's final peer reviewed version. The Publisher's final version can be found by following the DOI link.


Svalbard, Arctic, passive house, heating, cold climate


Buijze, J. A. J. C. and Wright, A. J. (2021) The potential for the passive house standard in longyearbyen – The high arctic. Building Services Engineering Research and Technology, pp. 1–19


Research Institute

Institute of Energy and Sustainable Development (IESD)