Every year, the Passivhaus Institut in Germany issues certifications to designers and industry consultants who have either passed a notoriously tough written exam, or designed and managed a Passive House project through to certified completion.
Towards the end of 2014, I attended an intensive two week preparation course with the Passive House Academy NZ in Auckland, and sat the three hour exam on December 5th. At the end of January the results were returned from Germany, and I became the 25th Certified Passive House Designer in New Zealand.
Passive House is a building concept and standard that is energy efficient, comfortable and affordable. It originated in Germany, and has been described as the world’s most rigorous energy and comfort standard. Passive House has gained considerable traction in mainland Europe, the UK and US, and is continuing to increase in recognition and following throughout the world, including latterly in NZ.
The majority of certified projects around the world to date have been residential, but there is a growing interest and knowledge in scaling the energy consumption, lifecycle cost and occupant comfort benefits of Passive House to multi-unit housing, educational facilities and other medium-scale projects. Additionally, the core principles involved are strongly relevant to embedding true sustainable design at the heart of any project, whether or not full Passive House certification is being sought by the client.
From a personal standpoint, I rate it as a significant professional achievement (as the exam really was quite hard!). As a company S&T are now able to offer Passive House design as a service. This gives us a point of difference compared to other practices. Most excitingly, in my view, is the fact that the architectural team now has somebody who can make a contribution to optimising the environmental performance of our buildings at an early stage of the design.