Home Calendar - Passive House Canada | Maison Passive Canada Master Classes ONLINE: A Pattern Language from Passive House – 8 Feb 2022

ONLINE: A Pattern Language from Passive House – 8 Feb 2022


Day 1: Tuesday February 8, 2022 from 9:00 am – 12:00 pm (PST) each day
Day 2: Tuesday February 15, 2022 from 9:00 am – 12:00 pm (PST) each day
Day 3: Tuesday February 22, 2022 from 9:00 am – 12:00 pm (PST) each day
Day 4: Tuesday March 1, 2022 from 9:00 am – 12:00 pm (PST) each day

Course description

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.

RDH is consulting to or certifying more than six million square feet of Passive House. The course is an attempt to condense what we have learned from those projects, with a focus on how to construct multi-family passive house for less.


Session 1/4: Context and Form

Date: February 8th  9:00 am – 12:00 pm (PDT)

  • Context: New constraints; wood-frame, mid-rise, multi-unit; role of pre-design planning.
  • Tools: Passive House; Step Code; other standards.
  • Case Study: The cheapest passive house buildings on earth.
  • Patterns: Keys to affordability; surface area; mechanical; maintenance.

Session 2/4: Materials and Assemblies

Date: February 15th  9:00 am – 12:00 pm (PDT)

  • Context: Embodied carbon vs. operational emissions vs. energy efficiency.
  • Tools: LCA modelling; monthly energy models; hourly energy models.
  • Patterns: Interior insulation; exterior insulation; standing panels; hanging panels; modular.
  • Case Study: Modular Passive House.
  • Context: Impact of thermal bridging on large buildings.
  • Tools: How passive house and Step 4 count thermal bridging.
  • Patterns: Suspended slabs; balconies; window/door frames; mechanical penetrations.

Session 3/4: Windows and Overheating

Date: February 22nd 9:00 am – 12:00 pm (PDT)

  • Context: Large buildings and solar gains.
  • Tools: How windows and doors are rated.
  • Patterns: Large panes; Operable exterior shades.
  • Case Study: Overheating.
  • Context: Overheating; internal heat gains; climate change.
  • Tools: Worst suite analysis required by BC Housing, City of Vancouver, etc.
  • Patterns: Shading; night flush; mechanical cooling.

Session 4/4: Affordable Mechanical

Date: March 1st  9:00 am – 12:00 pm (PDT)

  • Context: Heat-recovery ventilation primer; impact of flow rates.
  • Tools: Unity efficiency vs. system efficiency.
  • Patterns: Local – regional – central; tempered air; kitchens; sealed ducts.
  • Case Studies: Centralized vs. ventilation risks.
  • Intro: DHW is large demands; GWP of gas; GWP of refrigerants.
  • Context: TEUI vs. PER; setting a budget as SD with PER calculator.
  • Patterns: Short DHW runs, less DHW recirculation, pipe insulation; DHW heat pumps; elevators and pumps; appliances and plug loads.

Learning Outcomes

  • Awareness of key concepts and roles in architecture for the Anthropocene: Adaptation, Mitigation, Urbanization, and Affordability.
  • Background and introduction to the book “A Pattern Language” and its history.
  • Knowledge of the international Passive House standard and its relationship with Step Code and other standards.
  • Gain insights into housing needs of Canadian cities.
  • Awareness of construction cost premium of multi-unit Passive House projects.
  • Understand key milestones in Passive House multi-family projects.
  • Understand how FORM FACTOR affects cost and performance of Passive House buildings.
  • Realize the need to plan mechanical early in process.
  • Learn the relationship between repetition and affordability.

Prerequisites / required background knowledge

There are no prerequisites, but ideally the participants should have some Passive House knowledge.

Recommended for

Homeowners, developers, project coordinators, realtors, subcontractors and component suppliers, architects, engineers, architectural technologists and other design professionals.

Course Instructors

The instructor for this course will be Monte Paulsen.

Monte Paulsen, EA, CPHC, PHI Building Certifier | Associate, Passive House Specialist – RDH Building Science

Monte is among Canada’s most experienced Passive House professionals. He leads a multi-city Passive House team that has consulted on or certified more than 70 projects—totalling 4 million square feet—including homes, offices, affordable mid-rise buildings, and luxury high-rise buildings. Monte is also a veteran Passive House Trainer who has helped more than 100 professionals earn their Certified Passive House Designer (CPHD) credential. His courses range from a one-day Passive House 101 overview to the multi-day workshop A Pattern Language for Passive House. Monte was a founding board member and volunteer at the not-for-profit organization Passive House Canada, and previously managed his own Passive House consulting firm, which merged with RDH Building Science in 2016.

Course Fee

PHC Member – $630
Non- Member- $700

*Please note that this course is limited to 20 participants and will be live-only.*

Professional Development

Total number of learning hours: 11 (based on attendance of live course)

AIBC Core Learning Units: 11 Core LUs (based on attendance of live course)
BC Housing (HPO): 11 CPD Informal (based on attendance of live course)
PHI: 16 Credit Points K035_2022_CA (based on attendance of live course)
ALBNL: 11 Core Learning Hours (based on attendance of live course)
AANB: 11 Core Learning Hours (based on attendance of live course)
NSAA: 11 Core Learning Hours (based on attendance of live course)
AAA: self-reported