Case of the month - Frankfurt


Policy   Frankfurt Passive House Standard
Designed by the Department of Energy of the City of Frankfurt and implemented by the City of Frankfurt’s Construction Office

Adopted in September 2007
Territorial scope
City of Frankfurt 

Target buildings  




Public buildings

 New buildings    

Private buildings
 Existing buildings
 Industrial, services, etc.

Main Targets  
  • Achieve < 15kWh/m2/year for heating energy demand in each building constructed under the passive house concept;
  • Rise exponentially the city’s passive house apartments, buildings and projects.

In 2007, the Frankfurt city parliament approved a new regulation stipulating passive house standards for all new and existent city-owned and used buildings, thereby supporting the pioneering role played by the city of Frankfurt in the German energy transition.

Designed by the City’s Energy Department and implemented by the City’s Construction Office, the policy is also a measure framed in the Climate Protection Concept of Frankfurt, which includes a wide variety of initiatives in order to promote energy efficiency and climate protection measures.

Furthermore, the city set up passive house financial incentives for property developers and drawn up a set of guidelines for cost-effective constructions to minimize annual total costs over the buildings entire lifecycle.

Passive House resolution

On September 2007, the city parliament approved a resolution stipulating passive house standards for all city-owned and city used buildings, and assuming it as a new construction method and a self-obligation for the entire municipality.

The obligation is also applicable for private investors that intend to purchase municipal properties. However, the resolution foresees that on the impossibility to construct a Passive House standard building due to location or technical reasons, the energy efficiency requirement still obliges developers to stay 30% below the German Energy Saving Ordinance, and in the case of non-residential buildings, that they make general use in their planning of renewable energy systems.


Guidelines on cost-effective construction

Focussing on cost-effective constructions, the city of Frankfurt has drawn up guidelines on cost-effective constructions in order to minimize capital, operating and environmental follow-up costs, all the way from the planning stage to demolition and disposal based on a certain quality standard. All new construction and renovation projects conducted by the City’s administration and related public bodies should match to these specific guidelines.


Success factors

  • A 300,000 m2 floor space of passive houses (including homes, schools, day nurseries, sport halls and office buildings) built in Frankfurt up to 2010;
  • Due to the city’s large number of passive house apartments, buildings and projects, Frankfurt assumed the title of ‘Passive House Capital’ on the occasion of the 13th Passive House Conference in 2009.