110: Introduction to the Passive House Building Standard

This course provides an overview of the core principles of Passive House design and building energy efficiency regulations in Canada. It covers the history of energy efficient buildings, energy consumption data and environmental impact, case studies and the economics of creating high performance buildings. There are no prerequisites for this course and it is recommended for anyone wishing to understand the basics of Passive House high performance buildings, including: homeowners, developers, project coordinators, realtors, subcontractors and component suppliers, architects, engineers, architectural technologists and other design professionals.

Please note: this is an introductory course and does not provide the technical knowledge necessary to design a Passive House building. If you are ready to take on a Passive House project, we recommend going directly to 120: Passive House Design and Construction.

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120A: Passive House Design and Construction

This four-day course covers the technical, economic and policy elements of Passive House buildings. Participants will learn how to apply Passive House principles in the context of building physics, windows and mechanical systems. Numerous case studies, both domestic and international, will be used to demonstrate current best practices and teach concepts of cost assessment. Participants will also have the opportunity to solidify their learning with interactive exercises throughout the course.

120A can be taken as a standalone course even if you don’t intend to write the Certified Passive House Designer/ Consultant Exam. If you intend to write the exam we strongly recommend you take 120A, 120B and 120C.

  • Day 1 Building science and energy use, overview of Passive House principles, in-depth look at insulation and airtightness design and construction techniques
  • Day 2 Thermal bridging principles, elimination of thermal bridges through better design and construction, window placement and construction, window components and efficiency
  • Day 3 Ventilation system design principles, components, distribution and operation, heating and cooling a Passive House building, design principles, components, distribution and operation
  • Day 4 Economics of Passive House design and construction, cost and risk reduction, marketability, quality assurance and testing, building certification process

Recommended for building industry professionals and individuals who are going to be involved in the design and construction of Passive House buildings or EnerPHit (retrofit) projects, including: architects, engineers, design professionals, site supervisors, general contractors, building inspectors, city planners, homeowners, investors and suppliers of high performance building materials that may be used in Passive House construction.

There are no prerequisites for this course, however it will be assumed that the participants can read blueprints and have a basic understanding of construction terminology. This course does include some use of mathematical formulas. Please note: 110 Introduction to Passive House High Performance Buildings is not required to take this course.

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120B: Understanding and Working with the Passive House Planning Package (PHPP)

This course enables you to take on your first Passive House project. It provides step-by-step instruction for using the PHPP energy modelling software, which is essential for designing a Passive House building. Participants will learn the structure, inputs and outputs of PHPP, and how to select appropriate climate data sets and record building measurements. The course includes modelling a sample Canadian project, where participants will assess building heat loss, energy demand and summertime overheating risk, as well as looking at the reliability of data sources and how design decisions impact the building energy demand.

Day 1 Introduction and overview of PHPP, treated floor areas and U-values for assemblies, heat loss areas and thermal bridging calculations
Day 2 Ground calculations and energy implications, window components and inputs, shading, ventilation volumes and airflow
Day 3 Heating demand and load, summer cooling requirements and ventilation, domestic hot water energy, electrical and other energy demands, renewable energy (PER)

Recommended for those who will be directly involved in the design, construction and energy modelling of Passive House buildings, including architects, engineers and design professionals. Also for anyone pursuing the Certified Passive House Designer/Consultant designation.

Prerequisites/ required knowledge and equipment/software

  • 120A: Passive House Design and Construction, or equivalent
  • Laptop with Microsoft Excel or equivalent installed (PHPP is Excel based), mouse recommended
  • Area measurement software such as Autodesk Design Review (free) or Bluebeam Revu (free trial)
  • Although PHPP demonstration files will be provided for use during the course, we recommend you purchase the PHPP software prior to attending the course. The PHPP manual is provided with the purchase of the software and is useful in understanding all of the features. PHPP can be purchased on our website; please allow at least one week for shipping.

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120C: In-Class Preparation for Passive House Designer/ Consultant Exam

The Passive House Designer/ Consultant Exam is challenging, even for experienced architects and building professionals, so thorough preparation is essential. This two-day exam preparation course is specifically designed for those who have completed courses 120A and 120B (or equivalent), and who wish to write the exam to become a Certified Passive House professional. It gives participants the tools required to write a successful test.

Overviews of each topic that could potentially be tested in the exam will be presented and participants will be able to complete example test questions, including a design exercise, and will learn to identify common mistakes and discuss exam time management.

Note: The in-class and online exam preparation modules both review the exam material but contain different example test questions. Much like having two textbooks on the same topic, past participants have found it beneficial to complete both the online and in-class exam preparation courses, though this is not required. The online module requires separate registration and can be started after the completion of 120A.

Day 1  Insulation and airtightness • Thermal bridging • Windows • Passive House design exercise

Day 2  Ventilation and heating • Economics • Cumulative exercises and common mistakes • Exam day: overview and tips

This course is recommended for anyone pursuing the Certified Passive House Designer/Consultant designation.

Learning resources provided
Course manual and digital copy of course slides.

Prerequisites / required knowledge and equipment/software

  • 120A: Passive House Design and Construction, or equivalent
  • 120B: Understanding and Working with the Passive House Planning Package, or equivalent
  • Calculator, notebook, pens and ruler

Professional development

  • Total number of learning hours – 14
  • HPO training hours – 14

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120C: Online Preparation for Passive House Designer/ Consultant Exam

The Passive House Designer/ Consultant Exam is challenging, even for experienced architects and building professionals, so thorough preparation is essential. This online exam preparation course is specifically designed for those who have completed courses 120A and 120B (or equivalent), and who wish to write the exam to become a Certified Passive House professional. It gives participants the tools required to write a successful test.

The module is self-paced and provides slides, exercises and feedback on a submitted design exercise. Topics covered include:

  • Energy balance calculations
  • Insulated opaque envelope
  • Air tightness
  • Thermal bridging
  • Windows
  • Mechanical ventilation
  • Economics
  • Passive House design exercise

*Please allow at least two weeks prior to the exam to register for the online module to ensure you have enough time to complete the exercises and receive feedback. The online module can be started after the completion of 120A.*

Note: The in-class and online exam preparation modules both review the exam material but contain different example test questions. Much like having two textbooks on the same topic, past participants have found it beneficial to complete both the online and in-class exam preparation courses, though this is not required. The in-class exam preparation course requires separate registration (please see course calendar for details).

Extending access
Your access to this module is valid until the upcoming exam. Should you find yourself unable to attend the upcoming exam, you can re-register for the online module at a reduced rate. See re-register ticket information below.

This course is recommended for anyone pursuing the Certified Passive House Designer/Consultant designation.

Prerequisites / required knowledge and equipment/software 

  • 120A: Passive House Design and Construction, or equivalent
  • 120B: Understanding and Working with the Passive House Planning Package, or equivalent
  • Calculator, notebook, pens and ruler

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Certified Passive House Designer/ Consultant Exam

The Certified Passive House Designer/ Consultant exam is set by the Passive House Institute (PHI) and offered by examination providers internationally. Information on examination regulations and the list of learning targets can be found on the PHI website. The written examination is marked by Passive House Canada and then sent to PHI for second review. PHI will issue either a Passive House Designer certificate or Passive House Consultant certificate to successful participants.

To acquire the Passive House Designer certificate, educational qualification is required which allows the applicant to independently design buildings or technical building systems. A copy of a document providing evidence of this qualification (degree, master craftsman’s certificate or similar documents, translated into German or English if applicable) must be provided. Examination participants who do not have the qualifications listed will receive the Passive House Consultant certification. Certified Designers and Consultants will be listed on our website. See more information on Passive House Designer vs. Consultant.

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150: Passive House Trades Course

It is essential that those working on Passive House buildings can properly install components, accurately implement design details, and also assess the impact that changes from planned work will have on the performance of the building. Mistakes during construction can be costly, especially in high performance buildings where certification is being pursued. This five-day course teaches practical Passive House building techniques alongside theory, and prepares participants for the Certified Passive House Tradesperson exam. It is delivered as a combination of in-class lectures and hands-on workshop experience, incorporating actual building of Passive House details relevant to the Canadian construction industry. Topics covered:

  • Passive House criteria and principles
  • Building ecology, comfort and economic efficiency
  • Introduction to Passive House design tools (e.g. PHPP)
  • Construction process and quality assurance
  • Thermal insulation
  • Thermal bridge-free construction
  • Windows and airtightness
  • Ventilation and heat supply
  • Building envelope specialization

Please note: This course teaches the skills and knowledge required for the Certified Passive House Tradesperson – Building Envelope Specialization exam. We do not currently offer the curriculum necessary for the Certified Passive House Tradesperson – Building Services Specialization exam.

Recommended for
Tradespeople, site supervisors and general contractors who will be involved in the construction of Passive House building. It may also be of interest to designers, architects, architectural technologists and developers. All theoretical components of this course are covered in 120A: Passive House Design & Construction.

* Participants should have prior knowledge/experience in the construction industry or related fields.

Professional development
BC Housing (HPO): 36 group A points

This course is currently offered by British Columbia Institute of Technology in Burnaby, BC
CESA 1500– Passive House Tradesperson Training Course – Building Envelope Specialization

For details and registration go to: bcit.ca/study/courses/cesa1500

* We are currently in discussion with other educational institutions across Canada to offer the Passive House Tradesperson course. If you are a college or learning institution interested in offering this course, contact our Education Program Manager.

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Certified Passive House Tradesperson Exam

The Certified Passive House Tradesperson Exam is a standardized international exam set by the Passive House Institute, and is offered three times each year. Certified Passive House Tradespeople will be listed in the directory on our website and also on the international Passive House Association website. The exam includes six interdisciplinary modules on Passive House principles and the application of those principles, and the Building Envelope specialization module.

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200: Building Enclosures for High Performance Buildings

Thermally efficient, airtight and durable building enclosure designs have evolved from existing North American practices with the introduction of many new materials to the local market in recent years. These materials include air barrier systems, improved tapes and sealants, thermally efficient cladding supports and unique fasteners, along with higher performing fenestration and insulation products. Many prefabricated building enclosure systems have also been developed and successfully integrated into recent projects.

This one-day course provides an in-depth discussion of high-performance building enclosures for North American buildings, including single-family homes and large commercial buildings, with a focus on walls, roofs and window systems. Numerous case studies will be presented to demonstrate how innovative building enclosures have been integrated into various projects ranging from mid-rise wood frame buildings and prefabricated Passive House buildings, to towering wood, concrete and steel structures. Topics covered:

  • Introduction to the requirements and design principles for Passive House building enclosure assemblies and details
  • Evaluation of exterior insulation cladding supports and details to minimize thermal bridging, along with the tested real-world performance of new air barrier materials and systems
  • Durable, highly insulated roof and roof deck assemblies and review of roofing material selection and problematic detailing
  • High-performance glazing systems and efficient, durable glazing products and window assemblies that meet North American and European standards.

Recommended for
Passive House Designers and Consultants
Builders, architects, architectural technologist and engineers
Building officials and planners

Learning resources provided
Course manual
Digital copy of course slides

Prerequisites/ required knowledge and equipment/software
General understanding of building design and construction, including vapour barriers, insulation values, etc. This course is not intended for those outside of the building industry. Knowledge of PHPP is not required for this course.

Professional development
Total number of learning hours: 7
PHI credit points towards CPHD/C certification renewal: 5
AIBC Core Learning Units: 7.0
HPO Training Hours: 7.0
APEG credits: self-reported

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210: Ventilation for High Performance Commercial Buildings

Details coming soon.

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220: Passive House Design for Multifamily Buildings

Medium sized multi-family Passive House projects are quickly becoming a dominant archetype in Canada, and there are aspects unique to these building types that rely on advanced knowledge of design and energy modelling. This one-day masterclass builds on the skills learned in 120B: Understanding and Working with PHPP, and enables you to model specific aspects such as thermal bridging and service penetrations in multi-unit buildings. Ventilation requirements and options are explained in detail, and case studies are used with guided exercises to demonstrate how multi-family Passive House projects are being realized in Canada. Topics covered:

  • Mixed use buildings
  • Ventilation requirements and options
  • Defining the thermal envelope
  • TFA calculation
  • Working with multiple PHPPs
  • Additional ventilation worksheet
  • Occupancy
  • Building certification options
  • Lighting
  • Sanitary pipes
  • Cladding penetrations
  • 3D thermal bridges
  • Curtain walls
  • Kitchen and dryer exhaust
  • Parkades

Recommended for
Passive House designers and consultants, builders, architects, architectural technologist and engineers, thermal modellers, developers and other building professionals involved in multi-family Passive House projects.

Learning resources provided
Course manual, digital copy of course slides and demonstration version of PHPP.

Prerequisites/ required knowledge and equipment/software
A solid understanding of the Passive House Planning Package (PHPP) is required and the course is taught assuming participants are already familiar with the use of PHPP. It is strongly recommended that participants have already taken courses 120A: Passive House Design and Construction and 120B: Understanding and Working with PHPP. A demo version of PHPP will be provided for use during course exercises, but it is assumed that you are already familiar with PHPP. If you have not already purchased your own copy, PHPP can be purchased on our website. Please allow two weeks for shipping.

Professional development
PHI credit points towards CPHD/C certification renewal: 8
AIBC Core Learning Units: 6.75
HPO Training Hours: 7.0
APEG credits: self-reported

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230: PHPP v9 Masterclass

Using case studies to enhance and reinforce learning, this one-day course reviews the major changes in the latest Passive House Planning Package (PHPP) software, and explores advanced features such as the Primary Energy Renewable assessment method and the new Certification Classes. Participants will learn how to use the new variants tool to compare different designs, identify and rectify errors in PHPP worksheets, and assess the economic viability of whole building design or individual measures, including step-by-step retrofits measures using the embedded economics calculator. Topics covered:

  • Variants
  • Economic Comparison
  • Error Checking
  • PER and New Certification Classes

Recommended for
•Passive House designers and consultants, builders, architects, architectural technologist and engineers, thermal modelers, developers and other building professionals who want to learn advanced modelling features and techniques in PHPP.

Learning resources provided
Course manual, digital copy of course slides and demonstration version of PHPP

Prerequisites/ required knowledge and equipment/software
A solid understanding of the Passive House Planning Package (PHPP) is required and the course is taught assuming participants are already familiar with the use of PHPP. It is strongly recommended that participants have already taken courses 120A: Passive House Design and Construction and 120B: Understanding and Working with PHPP. A demo version of PHPP will be provided for use during course exercises, but it is assumed that you are already familiar with PHPP. If you have not already purchased your own copy, PHPP can be purchased here. Please allow two weeks for shipping.

Professional development
Total number of learning hours: 7
PHI credit points towards CPHD/C certification renewal: 8
AIBC Core Learning Units: 6.75
HPO Training Hours: 7.0
APEG credits: self-reported

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240: designPH Masterclass

Details coming soon.

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250: Thermal Bridging Calculations

Thermal bridges are an important consideration in low-energy building design. For optimum efficiency, the entire thermal envelope is ideally wrapped in a blanket of insulation so to eliminate all bridges however, practicalities and cost often prevent this from being achieved. 2D thermal modelling is often needed to properly assess junctions that contain thermal bridging and this must be carefully performed using validated software to ensure accurate results. In this two-day masterclass, participants will learn the fundamentals of thermal bridging calculations for wood-framed construction and gain a better understanding of heat loss in buildings due to thermal bridging. We will look at the basic commands and modelling techniques using THERM (the software program that models steady-state, two-dimensional heat transfer problems) to quantify the degree of thermal bridging at junctions. We will also use the Passive House Planning Package (building energy modelling software) to demonstrate how thermal bridging details are utilized, and participants will be given the opportunity to perform calculations and have them reviewed in class. Topics covered:

  • Thermal bridging basics
  • Modelling in THERM
  • THERM simulations Psi values
  • Modelling conventions
  • Junction specific modelling, slab to roof
  • Transferring results to PHPP

Recommended for
Passive House designers and consultants, architects, architectural technologists, engineers and builders, thermal modelers, developers and other building professionals

Required materials

  • Laptop with charger. If you have a short power adapter, bring a small extension cord or powerbar
  • THERM 7 preloaded, Therm 7 can be downloaded for free here: http://windows.lbl.gov/software/therm/7/index.html
  • MS Excel (or equivalent)
  • Calculator, pencil and notepad for sketching

Learning resources provided
Course manual, digital copy of course slides and demonstration version of PHPP

Professional development
Total number of learning hours: 16
PHI credit points towards CPHD/C certification renewal: 16
AIBC Core Learning Units: tbc
HPO Training Hours: tbc
APEG credits: self-reported

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