Passive House Design

12 Credits

Passive House is a high-performance building design and certification system that is gaining momentum as one of the top approaches for sustainable architecture in the country. This 12 Credit Graduate Certificate in Passive House Design will be offered online and taught by certified Passive House professionals. You begin the program with an overall understanding of the sustainable design movement while also studying the "basics" of passive house design. As you move through the program, you will move on to study the various technical aspects of meeting Passive House, with an emphasis on simulation, calculation, and validation. You will be prepared to take the Passive House Certification exam and the exam fees are included in the tuition for this program. This Graduate Certificate is capped by a Passive House Design Studio that features interaction with professionals with direct experience in designing and documenting passive house buildings and will feature the design of sustainable affordable housing project.


All applicants to the Passive House Certificate Program will automatically be considered for Jefferson’s Climate Leadership Scholarship! Selected students who receive this award will benefit from a 25% tuition reduction for each course taken in their first certificate program. There is no separate application required, so once the Office of Admissions receives an applicant’s university application, official transcripts and resume, recipients will be notified. Awards are limited – so apply now! Please understand that students currently enrolled at Jefferson are not eligible for this scholarship. For more information regarding the Climate Leadership Scholarship, please contact Graduate Admissions at 215-951-2943.

Passive House Design is a STEM designated program (CIP Code 04.0902). 


FALL SEMESTER: 6 credits

What is sustainability and why is it essential for the future of humanity? Learn how to analyze and articulate the sustainability imperative across four dimensions—ecology, economy, experience, and equity—while examining sustainability considerations at multiple scales in the built environment, from cities and regions to individual buildings and interiors. This will place Passive House within the broader context of sustainable design.

This course features a deep dive into the core knowledge needed to understand and eventually complete a Passive House Project. Building science; Building assemblies; HVAC systems; Base energy load and renewable energy systems are all covered in this course. This course, in part, prepares students to sit for the Certified Passive House Consultant Exam.


In this course, students will build upon the knowledge gained in the 'Basics' course and learn how to apply a wide array of technologies, software packages, and calculations needed to verify that Passive House Standards will be met in a design project. Students will learn WUFI Passive and Therm among other programs. Students will be prepared to take the CPHC exam. PHIUS established the CPHC® credential to distinguish accomplished passive house professionals in the marketplace. Students who complete the course in good standing will receive funding to take the certification exam as part of their tuition.

This studio-based course features the integrated design process as a means to generate high-performance solutions to the design of sustainable, affordable housing projects. Students will interact with experts, and stakeholders to design and validate a built project that meets the broader goals of sustainable design and that also meet the Passive House Standard. 


Predicted Work Load

  • 6 hours per week of class time (two Nights)
  • 6 - 12 hours of homework per week