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21, jul 23 | Reading: 9 min.

Passive Houses - Energy-Efficient Buildings

Undoubtedly, you must have come across discussions about the pressing environmental challenges that humanity must confront and rectify without delay. The decision regarding the construction of your dwelling can serve as the pivotal point for initiating this transformation. To this end, let us acquaint you with a few eco-friendly practices to incorporate right from the inception of your house project.


Are you familiar with construction methods that are both environmentally conscious and economically viable? In the subsequent sections of this article, we shall shed light on two groundbreaking approaches to construction: passive houses and modular housing. Additionally, we will delve into the most recent initiative aimed at bolstering energy efficiency in residential structures.


cover image of the article: Passive Houses - Efficient Buildings. The image shows a building with stairs and a tree in the centre.

Photo by Alexander Abero – Unsplash



Modular Houses


Decades ago, the primary objective of families was to build a home that could accommodate all family members and even future generations. However, as the younger generations pursued different paths, these once cherished family homes fell into neglect, often leading to their abandonment. Presently, many of these properties lie in ruins, and the construction materials have become unsuitable for reuse.


In modern times, families have become increasingly nomadic, driven by the pursuit of better living standards, work opportunities, or even more favourable weather conditions. The traditional notion of being rooted in a single city has waned, giving way to a rising trend of frequent relocations. In response to these changing dynamics, innovative housing solutions have emerged. Today, it is possible to move to a new city while taking your home along with you! Enter the era of modular houses, where versatility reigns supreme, enabling swift and easy transitions between locations and facilitating adjustments in the size and layout of the dwelling.


This inherent flexibility stands as one of the primary advantages of modular houses. Individuals who wish to relocate without relinquishing the comfort of their familiar living spaces can do so with relative ease and speed. Additionally, this type of modular construction embraces sustainability, thanks to its off-site assembly, often taking place in factories. By doing so, the waste and environmental impact are significantly reduced, making it a greener and more conscientious approach to building homes.


Advantages of Modular Houses:

1. The hallmark feature of modular houses lies in their construction speed. The assembly time typically ranges between 60 to 120 days, taking place within a controlled environment. This process is free from the weather conditions and the unforeseen delays often encountered in traditional construction projects. Each step of the construction is meticulously planned and executed, with a substantial portion of the work carried out within factory premises. Furthermore, modular houses offer a remarkable cost advantage, presenting significantly lower price points when compared to their conventional houses.


2. Another noteworthy benefit is the exceptional flexibility in selecting the house's layout and overall aesthetics. Unlike conventional construction, where one must finalize the house's type and design from the outset, modular houses allow for more adaptable choices. The option to incorporate an additional bedroom or room as per changing requirements is readily available. Additionally, professional designers associated with these construction companies can lend their expertise to help manifest your desired vision. If inspiration is lacking, exploring existing houses or investing in a ready-to-occupy modular home becomes a viable path.


3. A remarkable feature of modular houses is the elimination of the need for conventional foundations. The absence of such foundations grants them superior portability, making it feasible to transport the entire structure from one location to another. In certain scenarios, this mobility proves advantageous, as the cost of relocating the house might prove more economical than purchasing a new modular dwelling.


4. The materials selected for this construction boast exceptional quality, necessitating rigorous oversight during the factory production. A prominent advantage of these materials lies in their remarkable thermal insulation capabilities. As a result, occupants can enjoy energy savings throughout the year, whether it be during the chilly winters or scorching summers. Moreover, the practice of modular construction plays a pivotal role in environmental conservation, significantly curbing material wastage compared to conventional building techniques.


Furthermore, those who opt to reside in a modular house relish the liberty of handpicking the idyllic location for their dwelling. Delve into our portfolio of available plots and start your journey of fulfilling the aspiration of living in the scenic beauty of the Algarve.


article image: Passive Houses - Efficient Buildings. Pictured is a modular house with a swimming pool.

Photo by Florian Schmidinger – Unsplash



Passive House

You might not have come across this construction method before, but it is undoubtedly one of the most effective ways to create an energy-efficient home. Known as a "passive house" or "passivhaus" in German, these architectural marvels excel on the energy certification scale. Their core principle revolves around minimizing the ecological impact by achieving remarkable energy efficiency in heating and cooling the interior spaces of the house. Through a combination of innovative design and meticulous execution, passive houses embody a sustainable living solution that leaves a positive mark on the environment.

Advantages of the Passive House Method:


  1. The Passive House method boasts a unique characteristic - its adaptability to existing traditionally-built houses, allowing for a gradual implementation process. Spearheaded by Portugal Passivhaus, the association leading the adoption of this approach in our country, the primary objective is to steer new constructions in alignment with the overarching principles of the Passive House movement. A grand vision of the association is to achieve full energy independence in residential dwellings.


  1. Emphasizing the well-being of its occupants, the Passive House method enhances the living experience in several ways. The meticulous design and execution of these houses ensure superior air quality, minimal temperature fluctuations, and a consistent state of thermal comfort. With temperatures maintained between 20°C and 25°C throughout the year, inhabitants relish a harmonious and pleasant living environment.



  1. Perhaps one of the most appealing aspects of a Passive House lies in its potential for substantial energy savings, translating into up to a remarkable 75% reduction in energy expenses. Achieving such efficiency hinges on robust thermal insulation, effectively preventing the intrusion of external cold or heat. Various insulation materials, such as expanded cork boards or mineral wool, can be judiciously applied. It is important to recognize that windows and doors represent critical points of thermal exchange with the exterior. Therefore, to optimize energy performance, it becomes imperative to utilize high-quality materials, which might entail slightly higher initial construction costs compared to traditional methods. Nonetheless, as time progresses, this initial investment swiftly pays dividends through substantial long-term energy savings, making the Passive House an economically viable and environmentally responsible choice.


  1. In the house design phase, it is crucial to consider its orientation. This constitutes one of the key cornerstones in creating a dwelling with a minimized ecological impact. For a deeper understanding of energy efficiency, explore the insights provided in this article.



Energy Efficiency Support Program for Homes - 2023


On the 18th of July, the Government unveiled yet another significant initiative under the Energy Efficiency Support Program aimed at bolstering residential energy efficiency. This program presents homeowners with the opportunity to elevate the efficiency of their houses by incorporating high-impact upgrades such as energy-efficient windows, heat pumps, or cutting-edge photovoltaic panels. The incentivized measures, synergistically linked with the Environmental Fund, have proven their worth in prior editions and will persist in rendering vital support to families while combating energy poverty through 2025.


  • Who is eligible to apply for the new energy efficiency support program?


Individual homeowners with permanent residence in the house where they intend to seek energy efficiency support are eligible, provided they can furnish proof of ownership of the property. Furthermore, a person serving as the head of a household in an inheritance, or any other heir duly authorized by the estate holder, may also apply.


  • When can I initiate my application for the energy efficiency support program in 2023?


Applications for the program will begin on the 16th of August and conclude at 5:59 pm on the 31st of October 2023, or until the allocated funds are fully utilized, whichever comes first. On the program's launch day, a dedicated platform will be made available to facilitate the submission of your application. However, it is prudent to start gathering all essential documentation beforehand, ensuring that you meet all the specific requirements for your proposed project. By preparing in advance, you can streamline the application process and increase your chances of securing the desired support for your energy efficiency endeavours.


  • What is covered in the 2023 Energy Efficiency Support Program for Homes?


Under this progressive program, the Government has set out to empower homeowners with targeted assistance in enhancing the energy efficiency of their residences. Several key areas of improvement are encompassed:


  1. Windows will undergo a transformative shift, being upgraded to energy-efficient ones rated "A+" to ensure optimal insulation and performance.


  1. Thermal insulation will receive special attention, with a focus on roofs, walls, and floors. Cutting-edge natural-based materials, integrating recycled components, will be employed to elevate insulation standards and foster sustainability.



  1. The program aims to elevate the efficiency of heating, cooling, and hot water systems. By transitioning to "A+" rated renewable energy sources, such as heat pumps, solar thermal systems, boilers, and biomass recuperators, homeowners will experience enhanced comfort while minimizing their environmental impact.


  1. Paving the way for self-sufficiency, the initiative encourages the adoption of photovoltaic systems or other renewable energy solutions capable of generating power for on-site consumption.



  1. The overall water efficiency of households will be elevated through the implementation of intelligent water consumption monitoring solutions and the replacement of outdated devices with water-efficient alternatives. Additionally, the program encompasses provisions for rainwater harvesting systems, promoting sustainable water utilization.


  • What level of support is provided for energy efficiency in homes in 2023?


The Government has demonstrated its unwavering commitment to incentivize homeowners to embrace energy efficiency measures. In line with this vision, the program will subsidize 85% of the costs associated with qualifying works and equipment, empowering Portuguese households to embrace environmentally responsible practices. The only exception is for projects involving non-eco materials for roofs, floors, or walls, where the subsidy will be set at 65%.


Such financial backing allows each beneficiary to access up to €7500 in total support, providing a significant impetus for individuals to embark on their energy efficiency journey, one that promises both economic savings and environmental benefits.


If you are considering making interventions worth €5000 or more, you must provide the energy certificate before and after the construction work. Additionally, this program streamlines the process of obtaining the energy certificate, offering a maximum support of €125.


The maximum funding ceilings for each type of intervention or equipment are as follows:


  1. Efficient windows rated "A+" - €2000;


  1. Thermal insulation in roofs or exterior and interior floors - €4000;



  1. Thermal insulation in walls - €4750;


  1. Heat pumps - €2000;



  1. Solar thermal systems - €2000;


  1. Boilers and biomass recuperators - €1500;



  1. Photovoltaic panels or other renewable energy equipment for self-consumption without storage systems - €1000;


  1. Photovoltaic panels or other renewable energy equipment for self-consumption with storage systems - €3000;



  1. Water efficiency systems (faucets, toilets, flow regulators, pressure reducers) - €500;


  1. Rainwater harvesting systems - €1500.




  • Can individuals who have previously received this support reapply?


Yes, individuals who have previously benefited from energy efficiency support are eligible to reapply. However, the support amount provided in the previous phase will be taken into account. Consequently, if an applicant received €2000 in support during a prior phase, their current maximum funding limit will be adjusted to €5500, in contrast to the €7500 maximum for first-time applicants.


For more comprehensive details regarding the latest phase of support for enhancing energy efficiency in Portuguese homes, please refer to this link provided by the Environmental Fund.



Embracing sustainable practices and actively participating in the quest for a cleaner world has never been more attainable. Urgent changes in our daily routines are imperative. It all starts with initiating positive transformations within the confines of our own homes. By adopting energy-efficient measures, we can significantly contribute to reducing our environmental impact and shaping a greener future for generations to come. Together, let us endeavour to create a world that thrives on mindful consumption and responsible living.