Certified Passive House Designer & NZEB Specialist

Course Information

Course Fee

There are three cost elements to this programme, as follows (All VAT exempt):

  1. Course Fee = €1,200 and includes training manuals, in-class, online course and coffee breaks
  2. Optional Passive House software (PHPP Version 9) = €150 - This is a requirement, if you wish to take the exam
  3. Optional Exam Fee = €350, including international accreditation and listing for 5 years by Passive House Institute. 95% of attendees elect to sit the exam.
  4. Exam Fee: €350 (also VAT exempt), including 5 year listing on the international PHI database

Target Participants:

This course is aimed at ALL building design and consulting professionals, including Architects and Engineers, Contractors and Builders.


5 days of direct contact in-class training, from 8.30am to 5.00pm plus 3 days-equivalent e-learning that participants complete in their own time and at their own pace. The online element reduces lost time from the office and costs for travel and accommodation.

The 5 days in-class is typically split into 2 sessions as detailed below.


Combination of lectures by leading Passive House experts, group design and calculation exercises and workshops. The programme is structured into 5 days in classroom, with 3-days equivalent on-line using the Learning Management System (LMS) Moodle with tech assistance from our staff. The on-line material is fully geared towards assisting the study process to pass the PHI examination. PHA staff will remotely assist and monitor progress of all students through the on-line material and only those that have satisfactorily completed the assessments will be allowed to sit the exam.

PHPP Software + DEAP:

As part of this program, 1 day will be dedicated to hands-on introductory training in the use of the PHPP software (Passive House Planning Package). Key tips and tricks in the use of DEAP (Dwelling Energy Assessment Procedure) in meeting NZEB will also be covered.

Training Materials:

High quality colour training manuals are provided at course commencement. Access will also be provided to our on-line learning platform, including modules of interactive test-preparation materials.

Class size:

Class size is typically between 10 and 20 persons.


The CPHCD exam is set by the International Passive House Institute and takes place all round the world on four pre-determined dates per year. We aim to schedule our training to allow sufficient study time between course completion and the exam dates.

Course Accreditation:

On successfully passing the exam, set by Passive House Institute, participants will receive the internationally recognised accreditation of Certified Passive House Designer/Consultant, joining a rapidly expanding global community.

This course is also accredited by the RIAI and is worth 45 CPD points.

If you have any queries on the above or should you wish to reserve your space. Please contact Edel Tinsley: edel@passivehouseacademy.com

Course Benefits

Appliance of Science to NZEB

Our Certified Passive House Designer course has just been updated to incorporate all you need to know about meeting NZEB in Ireland. The programme now includes the best-of-both, namely the scientific foundation that is Passive House and the legislative requirements of NZEB. You'll leave this programme not just knowing what is required for NZEB, but also how to deliver it in the most cost effective manner and taking great comfort in knowing that your project will deliver first time.

Come and join us and draw on our experience of working in this field for 15 years.

NZEB Becomes Mandatory in Ireland in 2019

The nearly zero energy building standard, or NZEB for short, becomes mandatory in Ireland in 2019 (1st January for non-domestic projects,1st April for homes and apartments). NZEB will require a 33% improvement in the energy efficiency of domestic construction, and a staggering 60% improvement for non-domestic projects. Whilst the impending NZEB standard was first signalled in 2010, the construction sector in Ireland is largely ill-prepared.

This course will put you in pole position to deliver cost effective NZEB.

The NZEB Triple-Jump

There are three key shocks in store for NZEB first-timers. These include (1) incredibly low U-values (for example 0.11 W/m2K in the roof and 0.13 W/m2K in the walls), (2) triple-glazed windows and doors and (3) whole house mechanical ventilation systems (for projects that achieve the super-easy target of 3 m3/hour.m2). So, say farewell to skinny cavity walls, double glazing and hole-in-wall ventilation!

Exploration of these three challenges forms the backbone of this training programme.

Run a Tighter-Ship

Passive House, first developed in 1992, has been delivering beyond-NZEB for almost 3 decades, involving triple-glazing and heat-recovery ventilation as standard. This will surprise you, but Passive House requires less insulation than NZEB. How can this be, you might ask? Well, it's all down to airtightness.

Passive House has always required super-tight buildings (approximately 0.6 m3/hr.m2) to protect the envelope, eliminate draughts and maximise efficiency of the MVHR. The airtightness levels required for NZEB, on the other hand, are less-onerous. But here's the trick - if you meet the Passive House levels of airtightness, you'll be rewarded in NZEB with reduced levels of insulation.

So, if you tighten up on air-sealing, you can ease back on insulation levels and reduce envelope costs significantly. Clever application of tape is way-cheaper than thick walls. Completion of this course will teach you all you need to know to deliver super-tight projects.

Our Experience

There's great comfort is using a tried, tested and verified delivery method for NZEB (in other words, Passive House). The Passive House was first delivered in Ireland in 2004 by our Director Tomás O'Leary who's been happy living there ever since. An in-depth monitoring study of this prototype home and of twelve affordable semi-D houses by Ulster University has proven that it delivers both on energy efficiency and comfort, with zero performance gap. Our other Director Art McCormack followed suit more recently and commenced a step-by-step Passive House retrofit for his home in 2015 and has also experienced at first hand the incredible comforts delivered by the Passive approach.

Tomás is one of the lead instructors on this programme and he looks forward to sharing his trials and tribulations with you.

Our sister firm, MosArt has delivered two Certified Passive House residential schemes since 2017, in Wexford and Dublin, both completed at cost parity and both performing exceptionally well. And in 2018, we designed Ireland's first commercial office buildings which meet both Passive House and higher than A1 standard (the lowest ever BER for commercial buildings in Ireland). Coupled with this is our extensive experience with different construction systems and project types, including certifying in 2017 the world's tallest Passive House project, a 26 story apartment block in Manhattan. We are also very active on several (deep retrofits) multi-family projects in Dublin, reducing space heating demand by over 90%.

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