The Certified Passive House Designer Course

Become a certified Passive House designer or consultant
and lead your industry

Home|Passive House courses for Designers and Consultants|The Certified Passive House Designer Course

About the course

This course is designed to provide you with the knowledge needed to pass the Passive House Designer and Consultant examination. But you will also gain much more. The coursework provides you with the theoretical and practical skills needed to apply Passive House principles to any of your projects and to lead your industry.

The course aims to condense the equivalent of a year-long master’s degree subject into an intensive, eight-day bootcamp-style learning experience. You will learn the scientific principles behind high-performance buildings and how these can be used to create more sustainable dwellings.

Through 64 hours of directed study and 32 hours of self-guided study, you will slowly gain a mastery of Passive House design principles. You can ask your teacher questions during the live chat or during dedicated question times. And Academy founder Daniel Kress is always ready to jump in with exciting insights and learnings.

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Course Content

Learning objectives

Passive House Basics

  • Overview of Passive House principles and certification
  • Health and comfort considerations
  • Economics of Passive House design and construction; cost and risk reduction; marketing.
  • Quality assurance and building certification
  • Introduction to PHPP software and the designPH plug-in
  • Sustainable construction and design

Building Envelope

  • Airtightness and weather- and vapour-control systems
  • Designs and solutions to address thermal bridging
  • Materials and approaches for creating the thermal envelope
  • Construction detailing
  • Construction systems
  • The properties, components and installation of windows
  • Systems and strategies for managing shade

Building Services

  • Design, components, distribution and operation of heat-recovery ventilation systems
  • Retrofitting of old buildings
  • Systems and strategies for ventilation and heat-recovery
  • Techniques and strategies for managing heating and cooling
  • The use and optimisation of domestic hot water systems
Registration closes:
Next Passive House Designer Course
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Course dates & fees

Aug 2021

$ 3,497 (including GST)
  • Certified Passive House Designer Course
  • 23.08.2021 – 14.09.2021
  • Every Mon and Tue
  • 09:00 – 17:00 AEDT (GMT+10:00)
  • + homework

Nov/Dec 2021

$ 3,497 (including GST)
  • Certified Passive House Designer Course
  • 22.11.2021 – 02.12.2021
  • Every Mon to Fri
  • 09:00 – 17:00 AEDT (GMT+10:00)
  • + homework

Feb/Mar 2021

$ 3,497 (including GST)
  • Certified Passive House Designer Course
  • 18.02.2022 – 25.03.2022
  • Every Friday
  • 09:00 – 17:00 AEDT (GMT+10:00)
  • + homework

Passive House Designer Certification Package

4,647 (including GST)
  • Includes:
    PaLaMa Preparation Course
    Certified Passive House Designer Course
    Exam Prep Course
    Webinar Support BEFORE and AFTER the Course
    Discount $344**

Save on your tuition fees and receive a certification guarantee by booking The Complete Passive House Designer Certification Package now.

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What’s included in the Passive House Designer Course

  • Course hours: 64 hours (8 days x 8 hours/day)

  • Homework practice questions: 1-3 hours per day, plus recorded solutions
  • Exercises with teachers – 1 hour per day, plus recordings
  • The SPA Formula Sheet – your massive advantage

  • PHPP licence

  • Support team before, during and after the course
  • Access to resources before, during and after the course
  • Scholarships available through SPA and pro clima

  • Full-time student discount available of up to 50%

Course details


This course is intended for anyone involved in design and planning who wishes to gain Passive House certification. The standard of teaching and coursework is approximately university level.

A solid understanding of basic design and construction principles is recommended. There are no academic prerequisites, but potential students should be self-motivated and able to undertake independent study and material review.

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 and 16 MBPS are required for the final online exam. Students need to supply their own PC or Mac computer. Other materials required include: a scientific calculator and black A4 two-ring binders.

It is recommended that students have coloured pens, post-it notes, plus web camera and microphone capabilities in their device.

Materials provided for class

In addition to having access to live sessions, students will be given access to session recordings in which Academy founder Daniel Kress explains Passive House principles and answers questions. Students can watch and re-watch these as required, at a time that suits them. The slides used in the course will be provided as a printed workbook, with free delivery available across Australia. Handouts and exercises are provided in a downloadable PDF format to allow students to print and complete them multiple times if desired. Both workbooks and printed handouts will be required for the final exam.

Passive House Planning Package Software (PHPP) is essential for exam registration. Each student undergoing the exam must have a personal PHPP registration number. (Included in Package price)

Is this course for you?

This course is aimed at architects, building designers, engineers, contractors, builders, policymakers, salespeople and teachers. i.e. anybody in building design or engineering.

(This course is suitable for owner builders wanting to learn more about Passive House. However, sitting the final exam is not recommended or necessary for individuals who do not plan to work in the building sector.)


The Passive House Designer Certification Course runs over eight days, during which time students have live access to teachers. Teachers will also be present during the exam.

The Complete Passive House Designer Certification Package
Students are further supported via pre-recorded and printed materials including session recordings, webinars, online introductory courses, downloadable homework exercises and mock exams.

Structure of the
Certified Passive House Designer Course

We start today with an exercise intended to increase your focus throughout the eight days of the course. Next, we introduce you to the basics of Passive House in an engaging and accessible way. You will learn about the health, economic and comfort benefits of the approach. You’ll also be introduced to the key principles of the Passive House approach: thermal insulation, eliminating thermal bridges, high-quality windows, air tightness and ventilation. You will be assigned homework.

After a warm-up session, we begin a deep dive into the different components of the Passive House approach. Today, the focus is on the opaque building envelope and how to calculate the thermal performance of walls, roofs and floors. You will learn about the different elements of the building envelope and how to avoid mould, moisture and thermal problems. You will also learn about blower-door testing and what can go wrong with such tests. You will be assigned homework.

Today, you will be introduced to Daniel Kress’ formula for producing effective and efficient Passive House buildings. There will be a discussion of thermal imaging and the tricks and pitfalls to watch for when using this technology. Next, you will learn about one of the most crucial elements of the Passive House – windows. You will discover the role windows play in building the envelope and how to accurately calculate their performance. You will be assigned homework.

Following a review of the homework exercises, we will focus on the role of ventilation and learn to design, size and to commission heat-recovery ventilation systems. You learn the difference between HRV and ERV and become familiar with the different systems available. By this point, you should have an in-depth understanding of the five key components of Passive House design. You will be assigned homework.

Today’s focus is on the design task you will be required to solve in your certification exam:
calculating the energy balance of buildings. After a review of the homework exercises, you will learn about the roles of heating, cooling and domestic hot water. You will learn why even in ‘hot’ climates like Sydney, we still design for the cold season. You’ll also find out why domestic hot water is typically the biggest energy drain in a Passive House. You will be assigned homework.

The Passive House approach would not be as successful as it is if it didn’t make good economic sense. Following a review of homework exercises, you will learn the fundamentals of making Passive House work financially on projects of any scale, from micro-houses to office blocks. You will also learn to calculate the timeframe required for an investment in Passive House technology to pay itself off in terms of reduced energy costs. You will be assigned homework.

You have learned how to design a Passive House dwelling from scratch. But how do the principles apply to existing stock? Can an old-fashioned home be modernised into an efficient Passive House? You will learn to recognise cases where Passive House makes great economic sense for an existing home and also cases where the numbers just don’t add up. You will also learn more about the overall purpose of Passive Design. No homework today.

The key focuses today will be exam preparation and an introduction to Passive House software. We will start by revising the material we covered over the previous seven days of lessons and carrying out practice exercises. Next, you will receive an introduction of Passive House Planning Package software, a key tool that makes it far easier to determine the viability of Passive House projects. There will also be an introduction to designPH, the 3D modelling plugin for SketchUp. Finally, we will talk about quality insurance and you will learn how to certify projects. A guest speaker will visit to discuss their Passive House experiences.


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”.

Julia Kiefer

After studying architecture in her native Germany, Julia moved to Australia in 2006. She then worked for leading architectural practices in Melbourne, Perth and Darwin, along the way gaining an understanding of Australia’s different geographic zones and the extremes of its climate.

Deeply passionate about sustainability and energy-efficient building design, Julia graduated as a Certified Passive House Designer in 2018. She has since made it her mission to bring about change in the building sector and to educate Australians about comfortable, healthy and sustainable living spaces.

In 2020, Julia joined Smart Plus Academy as assistant Passive House trainer. She now educates building professionals across Australia about the Passive House standard.

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How it works

1. Book The Complete Passive House Designer Certification Package

Arrange your dates with the SPA team

3. Complete the course

4. Lead your industry

Save on your tuition fees and receive a certification guarantee by booking The Complete Passive House Designer Certification Package now.

Learn more