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
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Course dates & fees

Feb/ Mar 2022

$ 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

May/ June 2022

$ 3,497 (including GST)
  • Certified Passive House Designer Course
  • 23.05.2022 – 17.06.2022
  • Every Mon and Fri
  • 09:00 – 17:00 AEDT (GMT+10:00)
  • + homework

Aug/ Sep 2022

$ 3,497 (including GST)
  • Certified Passive House Designer Course
  • 22.08.2022 – 06.09.2022
  • Every Mon and Tue
  • 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
    Exam
    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.

Learn more

What’s included in the Passive House Designer Course

  • Course hours: 48 hours LIVE (6 days x 8 hours/day)                                                24 hours self-paced

  • 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

Prerequisites

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 online sessions, students will be given access to session recordings in which Academy founder Daniel Kress and lead teacher Julia Kiefer explain Passive House principles and answer 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.)

Access

The Passive House Designer Certification Course runs over six days, during which time students have live access to teachers. Additionally, there are 2 days that are only available as recordings.

Students are further supported via pre-recordings of the course. Access can be provided up to 3 months before the start date of the course, and 3 months from the starting date of the course. Access can only be provided after full payment.

The printed materials include the core units of the course that are exam-relevant. However, PDFs are provided for all units, formula sheet, homework, and exercises.

The Complete Passive House Designer Certification Package additionally includes the 2-day self-paced preparation courses, 2-day self-paced exam preparation and the exam with up to 3 attempts.

Structure of the
Certified Passive House Designer Course

Recording – self paced learning

In this self-paced course we will welcome you and introduce Smart Plus Academy and the Passive House Institute. You will hear why we are so passionate about Passive House and learn about the health, sustainability, and economic benefits of the approach. Further, you will be introduced to the Passive House standard and get an overview of the approach. You will be able to understand the connection between the big picture and the smallest material characteristic. You will be assigned homework.

Recording – self paced learning

One of the hardest things about learning a new subject is getting your head around the terminology and basic concepts. The PaLaMa Preparation Course is designed to take the stress out of your learning journey by getting you up to speed with the key mathematical concepts and language terms used in Passive House. You can do this course in your own time and review as often as you like!

Live – 9am – 5pm

Today we will welcome you to the first live session of the course. You will meet your teachers and fellow students. We begin with 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. We will shed light on the question of why airtightness and thermal bridge free design are crucial. You will be assigned homework.

Live – 9am – 5pm

On day two of the live teaching, you will first be introduced to the Magic formula and how to calculate heat transport. 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. We will talk about the different parts of a window – like glazing, spacers, and frame. You will be assigned homework.

Live – 9am – 5pm

Following our daily review of the homework exercises, we will focus on the role of ventilation and learn to design, size, and commission heat-recovery ventilation systems. You will 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.

Live – 9am – 5pm

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.

Live – 9am – 5pm

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 tiny 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. Today you will also be introduced to the Design task which is part of the certification exam. You will be assigned homework.

Live – 9am – 5pm

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 modernized into an efficient Passive House? You will learn to recognize 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. In the afternoon our teachers will guide you through the setup of the software that is required for the exam. This is the last day of live teaching. You will be assigned homework.

Recording – self paced learning

The key focus of this recorded session will be an introduction to the Passive House software. You will receive an introduction of PHPP-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 assurance, and you will learn how to certify projects. You will be assigned homework.

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”.

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 has since become a certified trainer and lead teacher at Smart Plus Academy and educates building professionals across Australia about the Passive House standard.

What our students say

Tess S
Tess S
2022-04-07
Verified
I had such a wonderful experience and felt completely supported every step of the way during the course. Highly recommend if you're looking to become a Certified Passive House Designer!
Pablo Shopen
Pablo Shopen
2022-04-06
Verified
A comprehensive and challenging course providing a very strong foundation for your passive house journey. Julia and Daniel are knowledgeable, inspirational and understanding teachers who are very good at explaining complex topics and condensing the huge volume of information. I would highly recommend this wonderful course.
srinitha raju
srinitha raju
2022-04-06
Verified
Daniel Kress brings this amazing energy to class, seeing how passionate he is and his belief in passive house has motivated me all the more! The passive house designer course is very well curated to the T, they have left no stone unturned and ensured they detailed every aspect keeping in mind that learners from various levels of experience undertake this course. As a sustainability graduate with very little industry experience I found it rather easy to navigate through the course because of their systematic approach.They provide you with all the required study materials and their 6-day online course delivered by Julia gives you a complete walkthrough of all conceps. Julia and the support team are very helpful whenever you need assistance in any way! It's been an honour to undertake this course with SPA and I couldn't recommend it more! To anyone looking to start their Passive house journey, THIS IS THE PLACE TO COME!
Stuart McKenzie Hall
Stuart McKenzie Hall
2022-01-12
Verified
Excellent, detailed and thorough course, well presented perfect for a serious step in improving your Passive House Designer journey and obtaining a valuable qualification. Highly recommended.
sam foutoulis
sam foutoulis
2021-11-24
Verified
Great course tought by a passionate experienced team!
Madhu Priya
Madhu Priya
2021-10-13
Verified
I can say with utmost confidence that I made the best use of the Sydney lockdown by enrolling myself in the Passive House Designer course by the Smart Plus Academy. Initially I was a bit skeptical about undertaking the course since I had just completed my Masters degree and had no prior industrial experience in this field and hence was not sure if I will be able to understand the concepts. But the course material was designed in such a way that it explained in great detail about every aspect of Passive House design. The effort put in by Daniel and Julia in delivering the concepts and engaging with the students through the homework tasks and exercises ensured a great level of understanding. The support team was also very prompt in answering our queries. Clearing the final exam was a cake walk with the level of preparation that we were put through. Overall, it was a very knowledgeable experience and I highly recommend this course for those who aspire to bring about a positive change in the built environment.
Wei-Chih Lin
Wei-Chih Lin
2021-10-09
Verified
I enrolled in the Certified Passive House Designer Course and I highly recommend the course. The course tutors Daniel and Julia, and the team were very helpful, professional, and knowledgable.
Nick J
Nick J
2021-10-06
Verified
Good course and content in preparation for examination. Supportive team prior to enrolling to discuss course suitability for my needs.
Andy Armstrong
Andy Armstrong
2021-10-06
Verified
Highly recommend! Efficient, passionate and professional educators who go the extra mile to provide Passive House courses for designers and builders. Students gain more than just a qualification, but also continued communication and support from the SmartPlusAcademy family!
Whisker Architecture
Whisker Architecture
2021-09-30
Verified
I wish I'd done it sooner. My only advice to future students is to make sure you have the time to study without interruptions. Running a new business whilst doing the course was a challenge!

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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