One Day Introduction to Passive House Design and Construction

Whether you are a planner, builder, policy maker or curious homeowner, the one day Introduction to Passive House course will provide a valuable overview of the fundamentals of Passive House building design. The course covers all significant design issues, including: the history of the Passive House standard, design fundamentals, requirements specific to Canada, super-insulated building envelopes, extreme airtightness, windows, ventilation design fundamentals and Canadian case studies.

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Passive House Design and Construction Course

This world-class course is designed to prepare building industry professionals to confidently undertake a first Passive House building project. It also provides the knowledge required for the international Passive House exam to become a certified Passive House Designer or Consultant. This course has been substantially revised, expanded, and improved in 2015, drawing from several years of experience delivering the course and extensive feedback from past participants. The Passive House Design and Construction Course is aimed at all current and aspiring building industry professionals who are motivated to learn how to build to the world’s most advanced and energy efficient construction standard.

The course is offered in three modules. Each module can be taken separately or together in a combination that meets your needs.

Part A – 4 days in class

Part A provides a comprehensive foundation in Passive House design and construction. These are the principles that need to be thoroughly understood in order to write the Certified Passive House Designer / Consultant exam. We also strongly recommend that if you intend to write the exam you take Part B as well, since the exam does cover aspects of the Passive House Planning Package (PHPP) software and examinees are required to supply a valid PHPP registration number. (Learn more about PHPP)

Part A covers the technical, social, economic, and policy elements of the standard. Numerous case studies, both domestic and international, will demonstrate current best practice.

Intended Audience: All building industry professionals, including city planners, policy makers, building officials, manufacturers, engineers, architects, designers, contractors, and builders. Part A can be taken as a standalone course if you don’t intend to write the exam.

Part B – 3 days in class

This module is intended to prepare you to take on your first Passive House project. This segment of the course offers a step by step guide to using Passive House Planning Package (PHPP) to design to the Passive House standard. It is recommended you take Part B if you intend to write the Certified Passive House Designer / Consultant exam as PHPP competency may be tested. Examinees are also required to supply a valid PHPP registration number. The PHPP software can be purchased here.

Intended Audience: All those that will be directly involved in the design and construction of Passive House projects.

Part C – self-paced online module

This online module is self-paced. It provides slides and exercises to help prepare you to write the Certified Passive House Designer / Consultant exam. Feedback will be given on your design exercise.

Upcoming Courses

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Passive House Trades Course

This five day course is aimed at all building professionals, contractors, engineers, builders, advanced trades students and others who are motivated to learn how to build to the world’s most advanced and ecological construction standard. The course is designed to enable you to understand Passive House building techniques and helps prepare you to pass the International Passive House Trades Exam. It is delivered in an in-class lecture/workshop. The learning emphasis is based on a combination of Passive Building theory and hands on building exposure. The course incorporates actual building of Passive House details relevant to the Canadian Construction Industry. Courses are currently being taught at British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) in Burnaby BC. If you are an institution or company wanting in-house training, you can contact info@passivehousecanada.com for more information.

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Certified Passive House Designer/Consultant Exam Preparation Course

We recommend the exam preparation course to anyone taking the exam for the first time. This course is offered ahead of the Certified Passive House Designer/Consultant Exam in locations across Canada. Please note that the Passive House Institute now requires examinees to supply a valid PHPP registration number when writing the exam. The PHPP software can be purchased here. The course covers:

  • Insulation and airtightness
  • Thermal Bridging
  • Windows (Part 1)
  • Windows (Part 2)
  • Passive House design exercise
  • Q&A and feedback
  • Ventilation and heating
  • Economics
  • Spot the mistakes exercises
  • Q&A and practical arrangements for the exam

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Masterclass: Intro to the designPH Sketchup Plugin | 2 days


Participants will learn how to use designPH for the design and certification of Passive House buildings. Participants will be guided step-by-step through the building design process, from building model creation to exporting to PHPP. A major focus will be on iterative design to achieve the Passive House criteria.

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Masterclass: Thermal Bridging Calculation | 2 days


Participants will learn the fundamentals of thermal bridging calculations for wood-framed construction. Common junction details and their modelling conventions will be examined. Modelling techniques will be taught and participants will be given the opportunity to perform calculations and have them reviewed in class.

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Masterclass Passive House for Multi-family buildings | 1 day


This course will explore topics specific to multi-family Passive House buildings. There will be a strong focus on how to model particular aspects in PHPP. Topics covered will include: Ventilation requirements and options, mixed use buildings, building certification options, defining the thermal envelope, occupancy, working with multiple PHPPs, TFA calculation, additional ventilation worksheet, lighting, sanitary pipes, cladding penetrations, 3D thermal bridges, curtain walls, kitchen and dryer exhaust, and parkades.

This course has been approved for 8 PHI Credit Points towards CPHC/D certification renewal.

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Masterclass: PHPP v9 | 1 day

With the release of v9, PHPP has undergone its biggest upgrade since 2007. This course is intended for intermediate and advanced PHPP users, and will explore the new features and updates of the software. Case studies will enhance and reinforce learning. Participants will learn about the major changes in the latest PHPP software, explore the new Primary Energy Renewable assessment method and the new Certification Classes, learn how to use the new variants tool to compare different designs in the same PHPP, assess the economic viability of whole building designs or individual measures, including step-by-step retrofits measures using the new embedded Economics Calculator, and discover how to quickly identify and rectify errors in all PHPP worksheets
Course Instructor: Andrew Peel PHPP 9 can be purchased here.

This course has been approved for 8 PHI Credit Points towards CPHC/D certification renewal.

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Masterclass: Building Enclosures for High Performance Buildings | 1 day

This course will provide an in-depth overview of new and innovative high-performance building enclosures that are being designed and constructed for buildings across North America, ranging from single-family homes to large commercial buildings, with a focus on walls, roofs, and window systems. The course will start with an introduction of the requirements and design principles for Passive House building enclosure assemblies and details. New research will be presented on the evaluation of exterior insulation cladding supports and details to minimize thermal bridging, along with the tested real-world performance of various new air barrier materials and systems. Durable, highly insulated roof and roof deck assemblies will be covered along with a review of roofing material selection and problematic detailing. Finally, high-performance glazing systems will be discussed, along with information on the selection of efficient and durable glazing products and window assemblies meeting North American and European standards. Numerous case studies will be presented to demonstrate how new and 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.

On completing the course, participants will be able to:

  • Understand building enclosure design fundamentals for high-performance and Passive House building enclosures, including the control of heat, air, water, and vapour
  • Become familiar with many different higher R-value wall and roof designs and the various material selection and detailing considerations for each
  • Understand and assess the merits of exterior insulation and alternate cladding attachment strategies for high R-value walls
  • See how different prefabricated steel, concrete, and wood wall systems have been incorporated into building enclosure designs
  • Recognize various different air barrier systems and materials, and understand how to detail different air barrier approaches
  • Be aware of the strategies and solutions for large building airtightness testing
  • Understand the technical properties for glass, insulating glazing units, and window frames for use in high-performance buildings.

Course instructor: Graham Finch

This course has been approved for 8 PHI Credit Points towards CPHC/D certification renewal.

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