Passivhaus for Universities

  • 15 HOURS
  • Free

Our new programme Design Performance for Climate Action aims to equip all UK architecture students to tackle the climate emergency.

Is this course for you?

If you are a student or tutor at one of the UK's RIBA-accredited Schools of Architecture you can access our free online course, Design Performance for Climate Action, which aims to provide students with a solid foundation in climate-responsive building design and a toolkit for tackling the climate emergency.

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"This course is responding to a direct demand from industry for more climate conscious architects. We are excited to be upscaling Passivhaus education in universities so that when architecture students graduate, they hit the ground running, embedding these skills in the practices where they work to have an immediate impact on the delivery of sustainable buildings in the UK."

Sarah Lewis, Research and Policy Director, Passivhaus Trust

Course Overview

Buildings are a significant culprit of carbon emissions – accountable for 35% of total global energy consumption. Design is the most powerful tool we have to improve their energy, both upfront and in use. Our course has been designed as a free resource to support existing architecture training in the UK, addressing priority areas in the emerging RIBA Climate Knowledge Literacy schedule and the ARB Competencies that form the backbone of the curriculum. It will empower architecture students with the knowledge and skills to design high-performance buildings using the Passivhaus standard as a proven and quality-assured route to achieving good building performance.

Passivhaus is a well-tested approach to reducing building energy use whilst also delivering high standards for comfort and occupant health. It adopts a whole-building approach focused on high-quality construction with clear, measured targets and certification through an exacting quality assurance process.

Our course has been developed by a specialist team of low-energy experts and educators from Coaction Training CIC and the Passivhaus Trust, alongside RIBA and the Standing Conference of Schools of Architecture (SCOSA). It critically examines the Passivhaus standard, exploring its strengths and limitations over four modules: two cover the principles of building design for optimal performance, while the remaining two delve into the specifics of construction and services design.

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"This is a huge opportunity for architects at the very start of their practice to gain access to Coaction's community of trainers - each bringing their long-standing experience and expertise within the Passivhaus industry."

Sally Godber, Director, WARM: Low Energy Practice & Coaction Training CIC

What will you learn?

This course will equip you with the skills and knowledge to design high-performance buildings. The concepts covered can be applied to ALL buildings, not just those with a sustainability brief.

There are 4 online self-study modules:

  • An Introduction to Design Performance
  • Climate Responsible Architecture
  • Climate Responsible Construction
  • Climate Responsible Services

Each module consists of a series of short videos, with quizzes along the way to test understanding and links to additional resources if you want to find out more. There is a final graded test which can be used alongside curriculum learning, and a Design Studio Practice Note to support tutors and students in studio work too.

Each module will take approximately 2-3 hours to work through. We recommend that you allocate 15-20 hours to complete the whole course.

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"Climate literacy among architects is fundamental to delivering a low-carbon future and we are committed to ensuring that the next generation have the knowledge and skills they need. This important initiative will provide schools with resources to ensure that each and every architecture student enters the profession with a firm grounding in the principles of climate-responsive design."

Jenny Russell, Director of Education and Learning, Royal Institute of British Architects


This course is currently free-to-access for all students at RIBA-accredited UK Schools of Architecture.

If you are not eligible for this free course, you can still access the same content, plus additional learning, through our paid-for course Passivhaus Bitesize.

We are looking for supporters to help us widen this programme further and empower the next generation of climate responsible architects and building professionals in other disciplines to deliver a low-carbon future. If you're interested in being part of the change please get in touch.

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Developed collaboratively by experienced Passivhaus training provider Coaction Training CIC and the Passivhaus Trust, alongside RIBA, the Standing Conference of Schools of Architecture (SCOSA), and the International Passivhaus Association (iPHA), this partnership has been formed so that together the organisations can do more, reach more people, and have more impact.

"It is essential that all architecture students have access to tools that can support in their learning to develop sustainable approaches to designing buildings. This initiative, funded by SCOSA and other partners will ensure our students can have an understanding of Passivhaus principles to inform their approach to sustainable design."

Prof Lorraine Farrelly, Chair, Standing Conference of Schools of Architecture

The Passivhaus Trust (PHT)
Coaction Training CIC
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Next Steps

The course materials are available to all UK Schools of Architecture students on an open-access basis and consist of online self-study modules. The partners’ ambition for the course is to expand opportunities for undergraduates and postgraduates in future years ¬– including studio practice - empowering these students with tools and knowledge used in low-energy construction. It is also hoped that the programme may be adapted and rolled out to other disciplines once successfully up and running.

We are looking for supporters to help us widen this programme further and empower the next generation of climate responsible architects to deliver a low-carbon future. If you're interested in being part of the change contact us below.

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Contact Us

Get in touch with any questions or schedule a quick discovery call.

+44 (0)1752 686890


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