designPH Course

Learn how to use the SketchUp plugin – designPH

What is designPH?

designPH is a tool that allows for the entry of 3D building geometry data into the widely used tool, Passive House Planning Package (PHPP). Developed by the Passive House Institute, designPH takes the form of a plugin for the popular design software SketchUp. The simple and graphically oriented nature of the plugin allows users to create in hours a 3D model that would otherwise take days to build.

designPH provides quick results regarding performance that are helpful in the architectural design process. The preliminary simplified energy balance results can help with the orientation, shape and size of windows, overhangs and shading devices.

Thanks to the optimised shading algorithm, designPH can create accurate shading parameters that can be used by the PHPP. The simple and easy interface between designPH and PHPP makes designPH the choice of many designers.

Image credit: Monash University, Gillies Hall, Melbourne, AU. Arch: Jackson Clements Burrows © grunconsulting. Rendering by PHI. (via designPH website)

About this course

This one-day course aims to introduce students to both the 3D modelling tool SketchUp and the designPH plugin for SketchUp.

Students will learn how to set up designPH on SketchUp and how to create the 3D building models needed for thermal analysis. Students will also learn how to create shading devices and how to enter local shading conditions. They will learn how to enter the details of building elements such windows, wall assemblies and ventilation systems for analysis. Instruction will be given on the use the designPH analytic tool and how to export it PHPP.

Course Content

Learning objectives


  • How to set up SketchUp
  • Grouping and short keys in SketchUp
  • Entering thermal envelope data
  • Entering shading devices and local conditions


  • Choosing climate data sets
  • Setting up shading parameters
  • Entering building elements
  • Modelling windows and doors
  • Creating the treated floor area

PHPP interface

  • How to run a preliminary energy balance
  • How to interpret the data
  • Creating export files
  • Exporting into PHPP

Course dates & fees

Sorry, there are no upcoming dates for this course.

$297 (including GST)
  • designPH Course
  • 09:00 – 18:00 AEDT (GMT+11:00)

Course details


A solid understanding of the Passive House approach and basic building physics is required. It is highly recommended that you first complete the Passive House Designer course.

Materials Required for class

This course is conducted remotely with students participating and accessing study materials via the internet. It is the responsibility of students to ensure they have an adequate data connection. Speeds of 3 MBPS are required for the online course. Students need to supply their own PC or Mac computer, with SketchUp PRO 2019 installed. [Download SketchUp – all OS & languages]

Additionally, designPH needs to be downloaded as a full or demo version. (The installation of the plugin will be demonstrated in class).

Materials provided for class

Students will have access to live sessions. The slide sets used in the course will be provided in PDF format. However, you may also have a printed version in your Designer course workbook. Additionally, handouts and exercises are provided in a downloadable PDF format, SketchUp file format or as Microsoft Excel files.

Passive House Planning Package software is provided in the form of unlicensed PHPP Workshop Version 9.6a with modified algorithms.

Is this course for you?

This course is aimed at people who have completed the Passive House Designer course and wish to further expand their skillset.


The designPH Fundamentals Course runs over one full day, during which time students have live access to teachers.


Daniel Kress

Daniel started his career in the construction sector as a carpenter employed on sites in his native Germany. He next worked in Ireland on what was then the world’s biggest modular residential project. After 10 years on the trades side of building, Daniel completed a Master of Civil Engineering and worked as a researcher on EU sustainable building projects.

Daniel has been based in Australia since 2015, and in 2017 he founded the Smart Plus Academy. His vision is to help build a more sustainable construction sector and to promote dwellings that are comfortable and liveable while using minimal energy.

Daniel is a Certified Passive House trainer and through his work at the Smart Plus Academy and other institutions has helped train more than 50 per cent of the certified Passive House professionals in Australia today. Daniel’s philosophy is to “inspire and lead with passion and love” and “to contribute to society through teaching that inspires growth”.

Alex Slater

Alex holds a Master of Architecture from the University of Melbourne and is passionate about sustainable construction and the architecture that enables it. He began working in the sector in 2010 as an architectural draftsman and has since worked as a designer, sustainable design consultant and architectural tutor. Alex is committed to building a better world for everyone and has been involved in a range of charitable pursuits, including the Cambodian Kids Foundation and Feeding the Needy.

Alex has been a certified Passive House designer since 2018 and joined the teaching staff of Smart Plus Academy in 2021.