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Certified Passive House Consultant Training

N. American Certified Passive House Consultant Training

Energy, design, engineering, construction and other related professionals will obtain skills and tools needed to design and consult on Passive House projects for the climate zones of North America, utilizing holistic systems
approaches that are measurable and verifiable by the Passive House Energy Standard metrics and quality assurance process.

Participants are determined through an admissions application process. Requirements can be found at the PHIUS website as well as in the application document. Upon successful completion of the final exam, participants earn the professional designation “Certified Passive House Consultant, NaCPHC”. The training course consists of two sessions of 5 and 4 days respectively.

Part 1 of Training:

The first 5-day session focuses on basic low energy design practices, physics of heat transfer, the software tool PHPP Passive House Planning Package and its methodology for calculating the specific energy performance of a building.

An introduction to the Passive House concept and underlying physics is followed by an interactive energy balance exercise for a single family home, using the Passive House Planning Package (PHPP) software and LBNL’s THERM heat transfer software tool for calculating thermal bridges.

A survey of Passive House solutions based on over 30 years of research and building practice in the U.S, Canada and Europe, illustrates the process and the specifics to be considered when designing a Passive House building.

The session continues with an interactive PHPP exercise for a multi-family project, discussion of thermal envelope, comfort criteria requirements, and air barrier, vapor and water control layers roles in Passive House
design. A survey of hygrothermal physics is then followed by a hands-on hygrothermal analysis workshop.

Part 1 Learning Objectives:

  • Define the Passive House building energy standard and compare it’s key metrics and criteria to other low energy standards currently on the US market
  • Apply and solve equations pertaining to annual demand, peak heat and cooling load, transmission heat loss of materials and assemblies, losses due to ventilation, and gains from internal sources and solar exposure
  • Apply the Passive House energy balancing process to accurately predict the energy performance of residential designs or existing buildings for a Passive House residential building in any North American climate
  • Identify Passive House building envelope requirements, components, materials, and strategies for effective thermal boundaries, air barriers, vapor and water control layers
  • Design and detail a Passive House building envelope, single and multi-family, for any North American climate
  • Calculate lineal heat loss of thermal bridges using THERM
  • Analyze and compare hygrothermal performance of Passive House assembly design options for various N American climates

Part 2 of Training:

The second 4-day session focuses on mechanical system design, retrofits, commercial buildings, quality assurance and economic feasibility.

An introduction to balanced ventilation with heat recovery is followed by a survey of mechanical design strategies for micro-load systems. Analysis of heat exchange systems, passive and low-energy options for heating and cooling, instruction on sizing and layout, conclude with a climate specific mechanical design exercise.

Next a discussion of Passive House retrofits includes a focus on critical differences between PH retrofit and new construction, insulation approaches, thermal bridge impacts and mitigation strategies. The session
continues with information on air tightness for retrofits, ventilation, window replacement and N American case studies. The retrofit session concludes with a retrofit design group exercise.

An introduction to non-residential Passive House criteria and examples covers zoning, schedules and usage patterns. Lighting, day lighting and internal loads. This is followed by student completion of a PHPP energy
balance calculation for a commercial/school project.

The last day of the session covers the importance of rigorous quality control throughout the design and construction process and discusses continuous quality assurance strategies. A discussion of economic
feasibility for Passive House new construction and retrofits and an example cost benefit analysis are followed by review of core concepts, best practices, critical calculations and hands on practice with example projects.

Part 2 Learning Objectives

  • Utilize Passive House best practices, PHPP energy model results, and Manual D calculations to develop designs for a micro-load mechanical system
  • Accurately calculate predicted CO2 related emissions
  • Articulate major differences of retrofit and non-residential Passive House buildings
  • Produce a Passive House and PHIUS+ compliant energy model for a Passive House commercial mixed use building for any North American climate
  • Outline continuous quality assurance implementation strategies for the integrated design and construction process, from schematic design through bidding and construction
  • Measure, explain and prioritize cost trade-offs and incentives


Want to hear about the class from a past student? Jesse Thompson shares his experience in this
Green Architect’s Lounge podcast.

Continuing Education Units

The nine-day Passive House Consultants Training is approved for 32 GBCI CE Hours

PHIUS is an AIA National, International, and Distance CES Provider. Earn 63 CE units.

Earn continuing education credits from the Building Performance Institute.

Applicants should possess the following:

  • Ability to read and understand architectural plans and specifications, general knowledge of conventional construction practice.
  • Demonstrated basic knowledge of building science, including: Building durability, defining the thermal boundary, defining the pressure boundary, and understanding thermal bridges.
  • Basic understanding of energy flow and use in buildings, including: Building energy losses, peak loads, energy load vs. energy consumption, and annual load vs. annual consumption.
  • High level of proficiency in Microsoft Excel v.2003 or later
  • Confirmation of professional or educational qualifications; see “Paths to Candidate Acceptance” in the application form.

PHIUS reserves the right to admit applicants into training without all pre-qualifications complete, with the understanding that the candidate will demonstrate proficiency in all required areas prior to certification.


To become certified as a CPHC, students must take and pass an open-book exam administered on the last afternoon of training. The exam consists of a computer-based component plus a design component administered at the training site.

If participants choose not to take the exam directly following the training, they have the option to travel to another PHIUS training location later during 2012 to take the exam.

Course Fees

CPHC Training:
$1950 - PHAUS Members
$2100- Non-Members

Exam Fee
$225 - PHAUS Members
$250 - Non-Members

Reserve Your Seat Today
If you are interested in attending the San Francisco CPHC Training Program taking place this Spring and would like to reserve a seat, please send an email with your name and contact information to

Technology Requirements

  • Trainees must supply their own copy of PHPP Software. You can purchase the metric PHPP from here.
  • Trainees must supply their own laptops, and must install two free software applications before class. These programs are compatible with the Windows only.
  • Mac users need to purchase and install VMWare Fusion, Bootcamp or Parallels, along with a Windows operating system. VMWare Fusion is recommended.

The two software applications that need to be downloaded are:

Table of Contents

Page title Most recent update Last edited by
Media January 6, 2012 3:50 PM former member
Passive House Exam Prep January 3, 2012 1:58 PM former member
CPHC January 3, 2012 3:41 PM former member
Passive House Advocacy January 2, 2012 1:52 AM former member
Passive House Training SF January 2, 2012 1:53 AM former member
PHAUS-SF Chapter Membership January 3, 2012 4:03 PM former member
Passive House Education January 4, 2012 12:40 PM former member
Passive House Protocols January 2, 2012 1:53 AM former member
Passive House Projects SF January 24, 2012 3:07 PM former member
What is Passive House? December 31, 2011 4:46 PM former member
Certified Passive House Consultant Training January 9, 2012 10:50 AM former member
About Passive House Alliance SF January 4, 2012 10:51 AM former member

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