Four very good reasons to sign up for designPH Skills right now Course starts (live & online) 4 June 2024

19 May 2024 by Jason Quinn

You’ll hear me talking a lot about designPH over the next couple of months. That’s because it’s a seriously useful tool that, once mastered, delivers staggering efficiencies and improvements in energy modelling for high-performance and Passive House buildings. Applications are open for a live, online course led by me, Jason Quinn, that starts on 4 June 2024—soon! Detailed course info and application forms can be found here. Or, read on for four compelling reasons why you should sign up without delay.

#1 Better, faster workflows

Once you master designPH, you are certain to save hours of time (perhaps days of work) on every single project you design. You’ll also create better designs because mastering designPH makes it efficient to test more iterations.

We know workloads are slowing for a lot of architectural practices as the economic recession settles in and it may not seem like a good time to invest in training. But the ROI on developing deeper skills in designPH is significant. I urge you to take this time to skill up. Once things get busy again, you’ll want the improvements in the quality and speed of your Passive House modelling but will probably struggle to find time to do the training.

We’ve taught this course before and the feedback from participants was overwhelmingly positive. People talked about feeling more capable, gaining valuable insight into the best workflow for Passive House design, the value of seeing the whole design process live from end to end. One person said that while they had previously felt lost with no lists or process to follow, the QA checklists and the structure that we shared for working in Sketchup were extremely useful. You can read the detail of these testimonials here, you’ll recognise the names and faces of established and emerging leaders in Passive House design in Aotearoa.

#2 Improve overheating calculations

designPH is the only way to accurately model shading and predict summer overheating, an increasingly significant issue for all types of construction. It’s a way around a shortcoming of modelling in PHPP for designers in New Zealand. Our buildings are at significantly greater risk of overheating compared to those in Europe. PHPP overpredicts the effect of shading for New Zealand buildings, which in turn underpredicts overheating. This past summer gave plenty of evidence about the extent of overheating and the harm it is causing generally. 

As certifiers, the Sustainable Engineering team want Passive House designers to calculate shading in designPH, as this will far more accurately predict overheating. We will charge extra  to review classic shading data in PHPP because those calculations are error-prone in our climates and checking the data is time-consuming.

#3 Building block to further qualifications

Our designPH skills course stands alone but is also a module in the forthcoming Passive House Expert course we are developing—this will culminate in a PHI-exam and official recognition. Breaking Passive House Expert into modules makes it more affordable and easier to schedule. And unlike cramming learning into an intensive, designers have the chance to digest and reflect on what they learn, try out new things they learn and return to class to report insights and ask for clarification. 

#4 Online and live (this time)

We’re fine tuning an education model where classes are taught via videos and personal coaching is provided to help designers work through the material. The big advantage is the learning is self-paced and people can start any time they need, like when a big project is about to kick off. designPH Skills will be taught this way in the future too. So right now is an unique opportunity to work through structured training with a cohort of peers, taught live by me with support from the other building scientists on the team. It’s not better as such compared to pre-recorded video and personal coaching, but it is different. Some people will find a set timetable and a peer group to keep up with helps with motivation.

We are sold on online learning delivery because it saves on travel time and associated carbon emissions, the cost of travel and accommodation and entire days off work. It also minimises the disruption to your work and the rest of your life. We’ve scheduled designPH Skills to run over an extended lunchtime, twice a week. I look forward to seeing you there (but please do read carefully who this course is designed for … it’s not for beginners in Passive House design.)

Course info and sign up

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