Frequently asked questions
Do you still have questions? Then you may find some answers below! Otherwise you are welcome to contact the training department of the Passive House Institute.
You can access the online course Passive House for Decision Makers for free. You may also check Passipedia, the Passive House Database as well as our free litterature section and online brochures to start learning about Passive House.
To get a brief overview of the Passive House standard, you may have a look at our elearning for decision makers. Do you want to further deepen your knowledge? Then you can check the Passive House Fundamentals online course.
Now if you are a building professional and want to learn how to design a Passive House / EnerPHit building, we recommend you to take the dedicated Passive House Designer / Consultant course. To understand how to carefully implement and assess Passive House details on the building site, tradespeople may take a Passive House Tradesperson course.
After taking one of these main courses, you may consider taking an additional in-depth course to extend your expertise in a specific area (e.g. software, building site, retrofit, components).
> Certificates / seals
Both titles are equal in terms of qualification with reference to the Passive House relevant knowledge. The requirements for attaining this certificate and for renewal are also the same. Normally, Passive House Designers work in planning offices on the concrete implementation of the Passive House Standard, while Passive House Consultants usually contribute to its dissemination through their work as researchers or speakers, or as decision makers in government authorities.
A clear classification is not always easy due to the diverse educational qualifications, professions and the legal provisions relating to buildings worldwide. For this reason, the Passive House Institute has specified two possibilities for classification as a "Certified Passive House Designer":
- Providing proof of an educational qualification which enables you to plan buildings or technical building systems independently. This educational qualification should have reached a certain level (e.g. diploma or bachelor degree) and have been attained in a specialised subject which primarily involves the planning of buildings or building services systems.
- Providing proof of membership in an institution, whose members are entitled to provide planning services which are subject to approval by a building authority (e.g. Chamber of Architects). In case of uncertainty, and outside of Germany, the course/examination host or the assessing body should be contacted.
You qualify for the Designer title if you have the following educational qualification:
- Architect or interior designer
- Civil or timber construction engineer
- Building physicist
- Building and energy technology engineer
- Building contractor
- Master carpenter
- Certified technician for structural engineering, building construction, heating plumbing and ventilation technology or supply technology
If you have the following educational qualification, you qualify for the Consultant title:
- Degree in (analytical) chemistry, electrical engineering or manufacturing engineering
- Engineering degree in environmental technology and resource management
- Construction industry environmental safety technician
- Environmental engineer
- Gas, plumbing and ventilation systems technician
- Woodwork technician
- Certified technician for electronics
- Energy consultant
- Architectural draftsman
- Woodwork technican for window installation
- Managing director
- Property sales manager/estate agent
► Just provide a copy of the proof to your course/examination host or assessing body. The attained Consultant title can be changed into the Designer title, if such proof is only obtained and submitted later on (e.g. taking an examination during training). If no proof is submitted, the Consultant title will be granted upon successful qualification.
We can advise the following:
- Go through the Examination Regulations & Learning Targets carefully and reflect on your confidence with each topic. Mind the gaps - then go ahead and bridge them.
- Study the Passive House Concept and its definition, criteria and practical implementation to detailed level. Sketch Passive House suitable details for different construction methods; regular build-ups and of course joints, window installations and the like. Customers will expect you to actually design such a building and be aware of all important elements.
- Internalize the “rules of thermal bridge free design” and their rationale. They are straightforward and invaluable guidance in everyday practice.
- Get familiar with the importance of airtightness, design and implementation of airtight layers and airtightness testing (methodology & practical execution)
- Study PHPP and energy balancing in general. What entities are required to compose the energy balance of a building? What is their respective impact? How does the balance react on changes of different parameters?
- Get proficient with actual PHPP use by entering a number of examples from A to Z. How can you make them a Passive House? Get valuable advices from the PHPP handbook! To understand what happens in PHPP you should also know how e.g. U-Values are calculated. Make use of the possibility to retrace the main algorithms in the spreadsheet formula.
- Get familiar with basic economic life cycle assessment (present value, annuity). Are you able to e.g. calculate the residual value based on given boundary conditions?
- Generally: Repeat and rehearse any calculations, sketches… During the exam, you must be able to quickly analyse what is given and required and set to work.
It is currently not possible to take the exam online. Please contact the Passive House Institute if you are experiencing difficulties to attend the exam in person.
You can bring any printed course material and notes to the exam. To save time, consider doing a summary of the main Passive House formulas and requirements. We also advise you to bring markers for the design exercise, as well as a calculator with spare batteries.
Anybody can register for the exam. While it is not mandatory to have attended a dedicated Passive House course, it is strongly recommended to increase your chance of success.
Some course provider may offer a special revision session before the exam - please contact your local course provider to check which options are available.
No problem! By submitting a project documentation, it is possible to renew a certificate at any time, even if your certificate has already expired some time ago.
A possible solution: You can also apply for certification yourself. This is worth considering in the case of smaller projects with low certification costs! Please contact one of the many building certifiers around the world.
It is not that serious... besides certified Passive House buildings or EnerPHit retrofits, PHI Low Energy Buildings are also suitable for a project documentation.
Send an email with confirmation of your attendance and the agenda of the event to the Passive House Institute.
Yes, it is very demanding: you have already provided proof of a high standard of further training by attaining your certificate. Now you can show your clients that you have continued to gather experience and are up to date by listing all your qualifications!
Yes you can, but since the "add-on"-seal PHPP Expert can only be hold in combination with the "Certified PH Desiger/Consultant" certificate, you can only use it once you have successfully passed the Designer/Consultant exam.
> Course / Exam providers
Please contact the Passive House Institute to enquire about your different options.