Upcoming Events

View industry events, share knowledge about zero emission buildings
or get in touch to add your own event to our calendar.

Loading Events

« All Events

  • This event has passed.

Pattern Language from Passive House: 4-Part Online Course

November 24, 2020 @ 9:00 am - 12:00 pm


How to Design and Build High-Performance Apartment Buildings at the Lowest Possible Cost 

“A Pattern Language from Passive House” is an interactive course that teaches cost-effective planning and design of affordable, low-emission, mid-rise, multi-unit, wood-framed housing.

This four-part online course presents design problems common to multi-unit buildings, followed by solutions that have worked in previous high-performance projects. These solutions are organized into “patterns” using a format adapted from A Pattern Language by Christopher Alexander (et al).

The patterns presented in this course are drawn from the hundreds of affordable multi-unit buildings constructed to the Passive House standard worldwide, because this is the largest cohort of affordable, low-emission, mid-rise, multi-unit housing. While these solutions are taken from Passive House buildings, they are applicable for residential building design to meet Step 4 of the BC Energy Step Code, as well as multi-unit buildings aiming for similar low-TEDI or not-zero energy standards. Likewise, while this course focuses on affordable housing, the patterns apply equally to market- and luxury-housing projects.

What to Expect

This course has been designed to be a highly interactive online experience. Participation in group discussions is expected.

Course Facilitator

Monte Paulsen, EA, CPHC, PHI Building Certifier | Associate, Passive House Specialist – RDH Building Science

Monte is among Canada’s most experienced Passive House professionals. He leads a multi-city Passive House team that has consulted on or certified more than 70 projects—totalling 4 million square feet—including homes, offices, affordable mid-rise buildings, and luxury high-rise buildings.

Monte is also a veteran Passive House Trainer who has helped more than 100 professionals earn their Certified Passive House Designer (CPHD) credential. His courses range from a one-day Passive House 101 overview to the multi-day course A Pattern Language for Passive House.

Monte was a founding board member and volunteer at the not-for-profit organization Passive House Canada, and previously managed his own Passive House consulting firm, which merged with RDH Building Science in 2016.

Discounts for BC Association Members

With support from Forestry Innovation Investment, a discount is available for BC-based industry associations. Please contact your association for more information.

Professional Development:

  • AIBC Core LUs: 12
  • PHI credits: TBD
  • BC Housing Informal CPD Points: 10
  • Planning Institute of British Columbia (PIBC) CPL Units: 2.5


Session 1/4: Context and Form

  • Date: November 24, 2020
  • Time: 9:00am – 12:00pm
  • Context: New constraints; wood-frame, mid-rise, multi-unit; role of pre-design planning.
  • Tools: Passive House; Step Code; other standards.
  • Case Study: The cheapest passive house buildings on earth.
  • Patterns: Keys to affordability; surface area; mechanical; maintenance.
  • Tools: How to calculate form factor and mechanical simplicity.

Session 2/4: Materials and Assemblies

  • Date: November 26, 2020
  • Time: 9:00am – 12:00pm
  • Context: Embodied carbon vs. operational emissions vs. energy efficiency.
  • Tools: LCA modelling; monthly energy models; hourly energy models.
  • Patterns: Interior insulation; exterior insulation; standing panels; hanging panels; modular.
  • Case Study: Modular Passive House.
  • Context: Impact of thermal bridging on large buildings.
  • Tools: How passive house and Step 4 count thermal bridging.
  • Patterns: Suspended slabs; balconies; window/door frames; mechanical penetrations.

Session 3/4: Windows and Overheating

  • Date: December 1, 2020
  • Time: 9:00am – 12:00pm
  • Context: Large buildings and solar gains.
  • Tools: How windows and doors are rated.
  • Patterns: Large panes; Operable exterior shades.
  • Case Study: Overheating.
  • Context: Overheating; internal heat gains; climate change.
  • Tools: Worst suite analysis required by BC Housing, City of Vancouver, etc.
  • Patterns: Shading; night flush; mechanical cooling.

Session 4/4: Affordable Mechanical

  • Date: December 3, 2020
  • Time: 9:00am – 12:00pm
  • Context: Heat-recovery ventilation primer; impact of flow rates.
  • Tools: Unity efficiency vs. system efficiency.
  • Patterns: Local – regional – central; tempered air; kitchens; sealed ducts.
  • Case Studies: Centralized vs. ventilation risks.
  • Intro: DHW is large demands; GWP of gas; GWP of refrigerants.
  • Context: TEUI vs. PER; setting a budget as SD with PER calculator.
  • Patterns: Short DHW runs, less DHW recirculation, pipe insulation; DHW heat pumps; elevators and pumps; appliances and plug loads.


November 24, 2020
9:00 am - 12:00 pm