Basic Understanding Passive House Building (50)

This course is for anyone wishing to have a basic understanding of the core principles of Passive House design and building energy efficiency regulations in Canada.

This course is recommended for homeowners and realtors.

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Introduction to Passive House High Performance Buildings (90)

This course provides a more in depth 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:  developers, project coordinators,  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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Pathway to Designer/Consultant Certification (120P)

Passive House certification ensures that you or your organization are expertly qualified to design high performance, highly efficient buildings to meet Canada’s national green building strategy.

The Pathway to Certification is the perfect combination of three courses:

  • Passive House Design and Construction (120A)
  • Understanding and Working with PHPP (120B)
  • Exam Preparation for Designer/Consultant Exam (120C)

Our Pathway to Certification has proven to be the most effective program to get participants ready to pass the challenging exam.

Please see descriptions below for more information on each course.

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Passive House Design and Construction (120A)

This 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.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Building science and energy use, overview of Passive House principles
  • In-depth look at insulation and airtightness design and construction techniques
  • Thermal bridging principles, elimination of thermal bridges through better design and construction
  • Window placement and construction, window components and efficiency
  • Ventilation system design principles, components, distribution and operation
  • Heating and cooling a Passive House building, design principles, components, distribution and operation
  • 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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Understanding and Working with the Passive House Planning Package (PHPP) (120B)

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.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Introduction and overview of PHPP, treated floor areas and U-values for assemblies
  • Heat loss areas and thermal bridging calculations
  • Ground calculations and energy implications
  • Window components and inputs, shading, ventilation volumes and airflow
  • 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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Online Preparation for Passive House Designer/ Consultant Exam (120C)

The Passive House Designer/ Consultant Exam is challenging, even for experienced architects and building professionals, so thorough preparation is essential. This online live 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 course is live online and consists of 4 segments of 4 hours each segment (16 hours in total) and provides slides, exercises and feedback on a design exercise if submitted by the student. Topics covered include: 

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

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

Prerequisites / required knowledge and equipment/software  

  • Passive House Design and Construction, or equivalent (120A) 
  • Understanding and Working with the Passive House Planning Package (120B), or equivalent 
  • Calculator, notebook, pens (multiple colours) 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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Pathway to Passive House Trades Certification (150P)

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 three-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.

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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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MASTER SERIES: Introduction to Control Layers for Passive House Wall Assemblies (200)

If you are a designer or builder who wants to achieve a high-performing, durable Passive House building, you need to understand control layers. Control layers are materials and systems of materials that are specially designed, selected, and detailed to control water, vapour, and air. They are placed throughout the building, from the roof, walls, and floor to the below-grade enclosure assemblies, details, and interfaces. They consist of membranes and other materials typically described as air barriers, vapour barriers, and water-resistive barriers, or collectively as critical barriers.

The design, selection, and placement of control layers can be challenging. Given the highly insulated nature of passive house buildings, even small mistakes in water and air control can create problems. Simply adding insulation to traditional wall and roof assemblies is risky, so air and vapour control practices must be adjusted to consider the assembly layers and details. Therefore, to design and construct effective passive house buildings, designers and builders must understand the building science behind control layers.

Building Enclosure Control Layers –  Session 1 of 4 Part Series

Session 1 will introduce the concept of building enclosure control layers and provide examples from passive house buildings of air barrier systems, vapour retarders/barriers, and wall/roof water management. The session will also cover placement of vapour control with different types and varying thicknesses of insulation and water control for walls, including rainscreens and water-resistive barrier materials.

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MASTER SERIES: Controlling Water and Vapour – From Rainscreens to Vapour Barriers (200)

If you are a designer or builder who wants to achieve a high-performing, durable Passive House building, you need to understand control layers. Control layers are materials and systems of materials that are specially designed, selected, and detailed to control water, vapour, and air. They are placed throughout the building, from the roof, walls, and floor to the below-grade enclosure assemblies, details, and interfaces. They consist of membranes and other materials typically described as air barriers, vapour barriers, and water-resistive barriers, or collectively as critical barriers.

The design, selection, and placement of control layers can be challenging. Given the highly insulated nature of passive house buildings, even small mistakes in water and air control can create problems. Simply adding insulation to traditional wall and roof assemblies is risky, so air and vapour control practices must be adjusted to consider the assembly layers and details. Therefore, to design and construct effective passive house buildings, designers and builders must understand the building science behind control layers.

Building Enclosure Control Layers –  Session 2 of 4 Part Series

Session 2 will take a deeper dive into rainwater control and detailing as well covering vapour control for walls.

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MASTER SERIES: Control of Air - Air Barrier Systems and Material Selection (200)

If you are a designer or builder who wants to achieve a high-performing, durable Passive House building, you need to understand control layers. Control layers are materials and systems of materials that are specially designed, selected, and detailed to control water, vapour, and air. They are placed throughout the building, from the roof, walls, and floor to the below-grade enclosure assemblies, details, and interfaces. They consist of membranes and other materials typically described as air barriers, vapour barriers, and water-resistive barriers, or collectively as critical barriers.

The design, selection, and placement of control layers can be challenging. Given the highly insulated nature of passive house buildings, even small mistakes in water and air control can create problems. Simply adding insulation to traditional wall and roof assemblies is risky, so air and vapour control practices must be adjusted to consider the assembly layers and details. Therefore, to design and construct effective passive house buildings, designers and builders must understand the building science behind control layers.

Building Enclosure Control Layers –  Session 3 of 4 Part Series

Session 3 will cover wall air control/air barrier systems and materials

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MASTER SERIES: Controlling Water on Roofs and Below-Grade (200)

If you are a designer or builder who wants to achieve a high-performing, durable Passive House building, you need to understand control layers. Control layers are materials and systems of materials that are specially designed, selected, and detailed to control water, vapour, and air. They are placed throughout the building, from the roof, walls, and floor to the below-grade enclosure assemblies, details, and interfaces. They consist of membranes and other materials typically described as air barriers, vapour barriers, and water-resistive barriers, or collectively as critical barriers.

The design, selection, and placement of control layers can be challenging. Given the highly insulated nature of passive house buildings, even small mistakes in water and air control can create problems. Simply adding insulation to traditional wall and roof assemblies is risky, so air and vapour control practices must be adjusted to consider the assembly layers and details. Therefore, to design and construct effective passive house buildings, designers and builders must understand the building science behind control layers.

Building Enclosure Control Layers –  Session 4 of 4 Part Series

Session 4 will focus on the special building enclosure control practices for roof and below-grade assemblies.

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How to Identify and Drive Down Embodied Carbon in Buildings (310)

This is an introductory course on embodied carbon geared towards construction professionals and policy makers.  The course provides a high-level overview of the importance of embodied carbon, how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with the built environment, as well as a summary of embodied carbon calculation tools available to construction professionals.

Learning Objectives:

  • Understand the difference between Scope 1, 2 and 3 greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Identify the different lifecycle stages of construction materials.
  • Understand the difference between operational and embodied greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Identify the primary sources of operational and embodied greenhouse gas emissions for buildings.
  • Quantify the relative importance of embodied emissions per building element.
  • Apply best practices for construction material sourcing to reduce embodied emissions.
  • Optimize building envelope design to minimize lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Select appropriate embodied carbon calculation software based on scope of analysis.

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Understanding Building Codes (320)

This 2-hour, online course will compare and contrast the proposed National Energy Code with the BC Energy Step Code, Passive House, and others. With proposed changes coming nationally and provincially, it will be important for all industry professionals and builders to understand the key differences between the standards and the metrics that they reference. Each of the standards will drive us to design and build in different ways. Some of our traditional design and construction strategies may need updates or rethinking to ensure homes are passing the new code minimums. In particular, the expected outcomes of each standard must be understood to allow clients and government to make better choices.

Learning Objectives:

  • Basic understanding of how each standard is calculated.
  • Understand the basic differences between Passive House, National Energy Code, BC Energy Step Code.
  • Understand the basic differences in outcomes for each of the standards.
  • Be able to articulate those differences to others.

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Calculating the cost/comfort equation (Part 9 Buildings) (330)

It’s what’s inside that counts: The costs and comforts of building and living in a Passive House. The math is simple: cost to build – running costs + comfort and health = customer satisfaction

This webinar will look at the detail cost breakdowns of several completed Passive houses (Part 9) as well as their long-term running costs. The class will also look as some of the less tangible measures such as air quality and health outcomes of those living in passive homes.

 Learning Outcomes:

  • Have an understanding of which parts of a passive home cost more and which cost less
  • Have an understanding of some of the health benefits of high performance buildings
  • Be able to articulate the above to others

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A Pattern Language from Passive House

How to Design and Build High-Performance Multi-Unit Buildings at the Lowest Possible Cost 

“A Pattern Language from Passive House” is an interactive workshop that teaches cost-effective planning and design of affordable, low-emission, mid-rise, multi-unit, wood-framed housing.

This four-part workshop presents design problems common to multi-unit buildings, followed by solutions that have worked in previous high-performance projects. These solutions are organized into “patterns” using a format adapted from A Pattern Language by Christopher Alexander (et al).

The patterns presented in this workshop are drawn from the hundreds of affordable multi-unit buildings constructed to the Passive House standard worldwide, because this is the largest cohort of affordable, low-emission, mid-rise, multi-unit housing. While these solutions are taken from Passive House buildings, they are applicable for residential building design to meet Step 4 of the BC Energy Step Code, as well as multi-unit buildings aiming for similar low-TEDI or not-zero energy standards. Likewise, while this workshop focuses on affordable housing, the patterns apply equally to market- and luxury-housing projects.

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Flixo Training – Model Thermal Bridges for High-Performance Buildings

In this 16 hour course, you will model thermal bridges using Flixo and understand the impact of design details on the energy performance of High-Performance Buildings/ Passive House Buildings.  We cover the concepts and protocols for thermal bridge modeling. Then, you will model several common thermal bridges using Flixo with guidance. 

Course Topics

1) Identifying Thermal Bridges  

Types of Thermal Bridges
Visual examples of common details 
Discussion of techniques to reduce psi values
Determining which thermal bridges need to be modeled 
Qualitative and quantitative assessment 

2) Thermal Bridge Protocols 

Overview of modeling and psi value calculation process
Standard boundary conditions 
Material properties 
Geometry requirements 
Reference points 
Calculation and use of equivalent U-values within models
Entering psi-values in WUFI Passive and PHPP 

3) Flixo Walk-through 

4) In class demonstrations of modeling for several important thermal bridge types 

Exterior and interior wall corners 
Rim joists 
Roof eaves 
Foundations (slabs and footings) 
Parapets 
Windows (sill, header, jamb) 
Special cases: Unheated basement 

5) Tips and Tricks for Projects with Large Amounts of Thermal Bridges 

6) Flixo Practice 

Individual/small-team modeling projects using selected details from real projects. 

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PHPP Expert

The Passive House Institute (PHI) has extended the existing training and certification system for designers and tradespeople to acknowledge the further education of professional groups and the activities that are important for the construction of Passive Houses. In addition, more focus will be placed on “lifelong learning” and the gradual acquisition of Passive House knowledge. 

With this advanced PHPP training program, you will be prepared to take the exam and receive the corresponding additional certificate (“PHPP Expert”). Deeper knowledge and competencies in the use of PHPP and the entry of complex data for non-residential and refurbishment projects into PHPP are crucial to ensure the high quality of Passive House projects and to avoid performance gaps. 

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Achieving the Passive House Standard for Existing Buildings

Buildings shape the lives, health and wellbeing of individuals and communities. Unfortunately, too many of the buildings across Canada often have significant problems: from drafty building envelopes, to mold and moisture problems, to inefficient HVAC systems. The Passive House standard has evolved over the years and now includes powerful tools, guidelines and certification pathways which can assist design and construction professionals seeking to retrofit existing buildings to be more comfortable, healthier and use less energy.  
 
This in-depth seminar will introduce participants to the Passive House retrofit ‘EnerPHit’ standards and highlight some examples of successful Passive House retrofits from around the world. We will discuss the basic principles of Passive House design, including thermal comfort, energy efficiency, durability and health – as well as some of the common tools and techniques for achieving these goals on retrofits. We’ll also review how the EnerPHit standard fits into the larger efforts at decarbonization across Canada. Anyone looking to rehabilitate an existing building will benefit from this course, and in particular this course is a crucial first step for anyone looking to certify a building as a Passive House EnerPHit retrofit.

Learning Outcomes 

  • Participants will gain knowledge about the International Passive House Standards and how these certifications apply to Retrofits of existing buildings as well as the specific Certification pathways which have been developed for conversions of existing buildings. 
  • Understand the various Passive House strategies for improving durability, health, comfort and energy-efficiency and how they can be applied in retrofit scenarios 
  • Analyze the implications of modifications to the building envelope and review some common issues and pitfalls in high performance retrofits 
  • Understand how building retrofits fit into the larger nationwide efforts at climate-change adaptation and mitigation.

Prerequisite/ required background knowledge

Helpful to understand the Passive House new-construction standard, but not required. Basic knowledge of building construction, materials and basic physics of buildings (heat, air water) are useful. 

Recommended for anyone engaged in the design and rehabilitation of existing buildings to the Passive House standard. Architects, tradespeoplebuilding-owners

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SELF-PACED: Up and Running with DesignPH 2.0

Interesting to fold the new DesignPH into your Passive House design process but not sure where to start? This course will take learners from the very beginning up to a completed whole-building energy model using the powerful new DesignPH 2.0 plugin. Participants will follow along, step-by-step as we build up from raw CAD geometry into a full 3D surface model, build and apply assemblies, manage thermal bridges, create complex window objects as well as detailed site shading and interior room-level data. We’ll also review the overall workflow and how to use DesignPH within a real project, how it fits in with other Passive House tools such 2as THERM and PHPP, and how to move project data to create certification-ready PHPP models. No prior experience with Sketchup or PHPP is required, although a basic understanding of these tools will certainly help you get the most out of this class.

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