Passive House Tradesperson Training is Coming to Pittsburgh

The designs are in. But how do you actually build a Passive House building? It’s a need we hear from many architects and engineers in Pittsburgh. Such is the success of the local Passive House push that there simply aren’t enough builders with knowledge of Passive House to complete the construction. So we’re hosting Pittsburgh’s first Passive House Tradesperson training through partnerships with Emu Systems, CCI, and Passive House Western PA. And the market case for earning a Passive House credential has never been stronger.


So to clear the air- what is Passive House?  Passive House is a technique of building design and construction that drastically improves the energy performance of all buildings – from a 26 story building to single family homes.  We are Green Building Alliance after all, and we are here to help encourage and enable high performance buildings in the region, so we’ve blogged about it a few times (here, here, here, here, here, and here).  The how?  By focusing on Passive elements first, i.e. a well insulated, airtight building envelope (walls, windows, roof, foundation, doors) and orientation (to allow for solar gains).


There are an increasing number of Passive House buildings being designed and it is difficult to find contractors that have the expertise to build these high performance buildings.  We have heard frustration from a number of architects and developers about not being able to find contractors that have the knowledge to build Passive House buildings.  The Certified Passive House Tradesperson credential can help to win contracts for high performance projects.  Additionally, there is a significant amount of value that you can add as a contractor when you have a deeper understanding of building science – for example the proper use and location of air barriers to prevent mold issues.


So why are more Passive House projects being built?  Owners, both residential and commercial, are demanding higher performing, energy efficient buildings that can cost slightly more upfront, but result in a reduced environmental impact and energy security for the property owner.  And that “small upfront increase” comes from the skilled labor required to build better buildings. In short: Passive House techniques are being recognized as necessary in our toolkit to combat climate change.  Not only are we excited, but the momentum to build super energy efficient buildings is undeniable – with net zero schools initiatives to New York City’s code and recognition by the United Nations that Passive House is an important tool to achieve the Paris Climate Agreement.  Locally, using Passive House techniques can help achieve success within the p4 Performance Measures, as well as achieve LEED certification.

We’ve had a lot of partners to get this far – offering two Passive House Designer trainings with Passive House Western PA, West Penn Power Sustainable Energy Fund, Passive House Academy, and the North America Passive House Network.  Now we have quite a bit of local capacity to design these super-efficient buildings, we need builders to be able to build them.


The first regional offering of Passive House Tradesperson training is scheduled for March!  As 4 days of training seemed difficult for many, 2 days will be taught at a time – Module 1 and Module 2.  Module 1 will be offered March 21st and 22nd and Module 2 will be offered in April.  Learn more about the training and get registered.

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