Tag Archives | Passive House

Virtual Certified Passive House Designer/Consultant Training

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This course runs from May 15 – June 12 on Fridays. Registration for this course will close on Friday, May 8.


Photo by Aaron Leitz, Courtesy of NK Architects


Harness the Power of Building Science to Achieve Healthy and Efficient Buildings 

The Passive House (or PassivHaus) Standard is a rigorous, science-based method for achieving incredible energy efficiency, durability, and healthy indoor air in any kind of building. Passive House is widely recognized as a path toward operational carbon neutrality in the building sector.

This Certified Passive House Designer/Consultant course offers intensive instruction by master trainers over 5 days, in which participants will receive a thorough grounding in the critical aspects of Passive House design and construction. Participants will prepare to pass the CPHD/C exam and learn how to apply the standard to real-world projects.

This course is for all building-sector professionals: project managers, architects, MEP, and structural engineers, builders and construction managers working in the design and construction of new build and retrofit Passive House buildings. For those more interested in hands-on Passive House construction methods, keep an eye out for our next Passive House Tradesperson Training.

Becoming a Passive House design professional requires practice with modeling software and a deep understanding of building science. Most professionals who pass the exam will need additional targeted training in energy modeling and other features of Passive House design, depending on their personal and professional goals. These additional trainings are often offered through our friends at Passive House Western PA, Pittsburgh’s enthusiastic community of Passive House professionals who are always happy to share their expertise.

This course is provided in collaboration with the international Passive House Institute, and was made possible with support from the Passive House Academy, NK Passive, and West Penn Power Sustainable Energy Fund.


Making CPHD Training Affordable During the COVID-19 Pandemic

In the midst of our current health crisis, it’s important for GBA to continue offering safe professional trainings virtually, while continuing to build local capacity for practitioners to create sustainable places where everyone can thrive. Passive House design can contribute to occupant health in buildings while also drastically reducing energy use and carbon emissions. For these reasons, we think this training is more important than ever and we’re committed to making it accessible during this time of social distancing.

For those reasons, we’re offering this virtual version of our training for a decreased rate of $750 – that’s half off our original in-person training which typically starts at $1,500. This price does not include the CPHD exam (which costs between $200-$500) and participants who wish to purchase a Passive House Planning Package license (which is required to take the exam, but not required for the course) will purchase that license for an additional $175.

This special offer is available only to GBA members at the Professional level and above.

Course Topics and Schedule

Participants will prepare to pass the Passive House Institute’s Certified Passive House Designer/Consultant Exam using curriculum covering relevant principles, calculations, details, systems, and components of Passive House insulation, thermal bridging, air tightness, glazing, ventilation, energy modeling, retrofits, and certification.

This course is typically offered over 5 consecutive days of in-person instruction but during COVID-19, we’ll host the course over Zoom on Fridays over 5 weeks. Following the course, additional self-guided studying will be necessary for exam preparation, and we will host an optional Study Day prior to the exam for anyone who is interested. The schedule is as follows (subject to slight change):

Friday, May 15: Introduction to the Basics of Passive House

Friday, May 22: Opaque Building Envelope and Windows

Friday, May 29: Windows and Ventilation/Heating/Cooling

Friday, June 5: Introduction to PHPP Software

Friday, June 12: Retrofits, Economics, and Quality Assurance

We’ll schedule the study day based on how many people plan to take the exam.

Meet Our Trainers

Our Passive House Trainers represent a variety of fields including architecture, engineering, and construction and each one completed a rigorous master training program with Passive House Academy. The training program included nearly two weeks of instruction along with a trip to Vienna, Austria to engage with Passive House leaders from around the world and tour a variety of projects. Our trainers are all members of Passive House Western Pennsylvania and will skillfully guide you through this training. They are:

Adam Bertonaschi, BranchPattern

Rick Eckstrom, Passive House Consultant

Rhett Major, The Energy Doctor

Gary Moshier, Moshier Studio


Registration for this course will close on Friday, May 8.

For questions about this course, contact Leslie Montgomery.

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PHWPA’s Passive House Tuesday

Building Science + Beer

Join PHWPA,  to discuss ANYTHING and EVERYTHING you want to discuss! Bring something specific to, or just show up to absorb and chime in if you like. No formal presentation will be presented. Enjoy a beer from EAST END BREWING COMPANY, or some delicious food from ‘LARDER OF EAST END’ inside of the taproom. This is a great chance to meet like-minded professionals and non-professionals, meet the PHWPA board members, or just network in general.

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Module Zero Energy Ready Home Happy Hour

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Join GBA as we tour Module’s first completed house in Pittsburgh!

Gain an inside look into Module’s first finished project, diving deep into the technicalities of this high-performance, prefabricated home.

Module is committed to designing a house that can adapt and change as the owners’ needs evolve.  Module-designed homes are built to grow, featuring specialized components that fit together seamlessly.


Green Building Alliance and Brian Gaudio, founder and CEO of Module will provide background and a guided tour of Latham House.  The tour will focus on Latham House’s Passive House-centric design.  This tour is presented in conjunction with Green Building Alliance’s Certified Passive House Designer/Consultant Training.

Learning Objectives

1. Attendees will learn about the Passive House design principles and mechanical systems used on the project.

2. Attendees will learn about the Department of Energy Zero Energy Ready Home program and how to certify a residential building

3. Attendees will learn about closed-panel offsite construction and how to leverage that technology on infill projects.

This event is free of charge but has limited space and advance registration is required.

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CLP Carrick

Going with the Flow: Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh Builds First Passive House Certified Library in North America

The Carrick Branch of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh (CLP) will be the first Passive House certified library in North America. This significant green building achievement tells the story of Pittsburgh: a community for all, where everyone has access to learning opportunities and has access to healthy, safe spaces. What’s the coolest feature of the […]

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The Punch List – 6/15/18

GBA’s Punch List is a weekly collection of the latest green building and sustainability news. The question of how to best deliver Pittsburgh’s water still looms. In February, Peoples Natural Gas pitched a partnership to Pittsburgh Water Sewer Authority involving new water lines and a new treatment facility — and some details have emerged, with People’s proposing a […]

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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 […]

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The new Cornell Residence building is the largest Passive House building in the world

Cornell’s newest Residence building The House is the largest Passive House building in the world at 26 stories and 272,500 square feet. As a large residence hall, there were unique challenges encountered, such as ensuring the most efficient appliances were used in every installation and minimizing penetrations through the exterior building wall (i.e. dryer vents). […]

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Hard Hat Passive House Tour: Morningside Crossing

Join Green Building Alliance and Passive House Western Pennsylvania on a hard-hat tour as we visit a large-scale Passive House project in progress!

Morningside Community Center. Rendering courtesy NK Architects.

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The Morningside Crossing project is a Passive House retrofit of an existing elementary school, with a newly constructed Passive House addition located over on-site parking. It will create senior housing consisting of 46 one- and two-bedroom affordable and market rate units. It will also include activity and fitness rooms available to local residents, a public plaza, and a community center operated by CitiParks. The project is one of the first in the country to share the health and comfort benefits of Passive House with a senior population. It is a much anticipated project in the Morningside neighborhood, providing viable housing options for the aging population who would like to stay in the community. That, in turn, will free up desired housing stock for young families who find Morningside an attractive Pittsburgh neighborhood.

Construction is well underway at Morningside with the existing building mostly insulated from the interior and installation of Passive House windows. The new addition is getting fitted with mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems as the roof is nearing completion. By the tour date, brick may be getting installed and concrete poured for the parking slab under the podium. Phil Ford, from Sota Construction Services, along with Brandon Nicholson and Rebecca Griffith, from NK Architects, will give us the low-down on what’s involved in a Passive House project of this scale. They will discuss the challenges they’ve encountered – and solutions they’ve found! – dealing with a retrofit of an abandoned 1897 building that includes a 1929 addition, and the incorporation of new construction with a brand new wing – all wrapped up in a Passive House bow!

Coffee and light breakfast treats will be provided on the tour.

Read more about the Morningside Crossing project here.

Passive House is the world’s leading standard for building the most energy efficient buildings.  The process for efficiency has been standardized by pairing an air tight, well insulated building envelope (walls, roof, floor, windows, & doors) with mechanical ventilation to ensure a high level of indoor air quality. Read more about Passive House here.

Morningside Crossing Project Team Highlights:

  • NK Architects
  • Thoughtful Balance
  • Sota Construction Services
  • AM Rodriguez


Learning Objectives

1. Understand the requirements of the Passive House standard and how members of the design and construction teams contribute to achieving it
2. Hear why the project is special in this region, specifically due to the nature of its Passive House goals for large-scale construction and its contribution to affordable senior housing
3. Explore techniques used to achieve an air-tight envelope
4. Gain insights into material use, mechanical system components, and sustainability goals of this project


Thanks to our event co-hosts at Passive House Western Pennsylvania.





This event is approved for 1.5 GBCI CEUs and for 1.5 AIA LU hours.

Partnering with USGBC and AIA, GBA makes it easy for our members to report continuing education credits.  Please provide your GBCI and/or AIA number so we can auto-report your credits (for applicable events).  Non-members can still earn continuing education credits but will need to self-report their GBCI CEUs.


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Passive House Signed, (Thermally) Sealed, and Delivered

We did it (insert exuberant emoji here)! In collaboration with our amazing set of partners, GBA has successfully delivered the first locally taught Passive House training in Western Pennsylvania–40 hours and five jam-packed days taught by Western Pennsylvanians themselves. Before we do a little horn tooting, a huge thank you goes out to the organizations […]

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