Passivhaus Affiliate

Passivhaus training for all UK RIBA architecture students

The rollout to get Passivhaus training into RIBA University Architecture Schools is now underway.

Passivhaus Trust - Training goals

The UK Passivhaus Trust is on a mission to increase Passivhaus training with ambitions to train 50% of the construction industry to deliver Passivhaus or equivalent standards by 2030 or before. Recent surveys find most architects & engineers first hear about Passivhaus at University; the next generation of upcoming designers is fundamental to reaching this target.

The Trust is scaling up its student education programme with a 3-part plan to ensure ALL RIBA architecture students understand the fundamentals of building performance through the Passivhaus standard. It is hoped that the programme may be adapted and rolled out to other disciplines once successfully up and running.

There are more than 15,500 students studying architecture Part 1 and Part 2, and around 6,000 new students start Part 1 and Part 2 courses each year. The Trust aims to ensure that every single Architecture student receives Passivhaus training.

University Passivhaus education


SCOSA members wanted to support this initiative to ensure that all students have access to Passivhaus education. All our students need to understand this as part of an essential  set of tools to enable them to design sustainable spaces and buildings.

Lorraine Farrelly, Chair, UK Standing Conference of Heads of Schools of Architecture (SCOSA)


The programme

Working together with experienced Passivhaus training provider Coaction Training CIC, and engaging closely with the RIBA and the UK Standing Conference of Heads of Schools of Architecture (SCOSA), a training programme is being developed to ensure a breadth and depth of Passivhaus knowledge for all architecture students. The programme aims to fit around the structure of existing architecture teaching and provide training materials to UK Schools of Architecture. Passivhaus is taught as a route to building performance to give architecture students an understanding of how to deliver excellent building performance, minimising operational and whole-life carbon of our buildings.

The proposed training programme is split into three distinct elements:


Funding is now in place, thanks to generous financial support from The International Passive House Association (iPHA), the Passivhaus Trust, RIBA/ SCOSA, and Coaction, to begin the rollout of 'Performance Foundations', Element 1 of the training programme. This will be provided to all RIBA Architecture schools on an open-access basis for two years in the first instance and will be accessible to all year groups, with a special focus on first-year students.

Sponsorship is still being sought to cover Elements 2 & 3 of the training programme.

The training programme is the first joint project coming out of a new strategic partnership between the Passivhaus Trust (PHT) and Coaction. The PHT/Coaction partnership has been developed so that together the organisations can do more, reach more people, and have more impact.


We are very excited to be upscaling Passivhaus education in universities. We want to ensure that when architect students graduate, they can hit the ground running, embedding these skills in the practices where they work, and to have an immediate impact on the delivery of sustainable buildings in the UK.

Sarah Lewis, Research and Policy Director, Passivhaus Trust

This will be 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. Coaction’s alignment with the Passivhaus Trust on this training gives us a clear route to truly decarbonising the construction industry.

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

Element 1 – Performance Foundations

The initial Performance Foundations course would be the starting point for all faculty and students, forming part of the 1st year syllabus and involves sessions covering Fundamentals, Construction, and Building Services plus access to some case studies. These sessions would each come with self-testing, which could either be student or tutor-led. The Performance Foundations self-study material would be rolled out for inclusion in existing syllabuses. It is essential that the learning from Performance Foundations is not seen as something on the side but used as a foundation for all design work, embedding the principles of good building performance into the studio environment.

Element 1: Performance Foundations


Element 2 – Performance in Practice

The first years who pass through the Performance Foundation course go on to have this learning further embedded in subsequent years through practical experiences with materials and construction techniques and engagement with local Passivhaus practitioners. The Trust will support architecture schools by providing practical examples & learning objectives, as well as specifications for best practice junctions and training rigs.

Element 2: Performance in Practice

Element 3 – Passivhaus Designer

Some students and schools may wish to go on and take/ support students in completing the Certified Passivhaus Designer Course; This is already delivered in some schools, for example, Bath. However, this is currently delivered as a standalone course, and PHT would like it to become an integral part of the learning journey.

Element 3: Passivhaus Designer

Sponsorship opportunities

Please drop us a line if you would like to help upscale Passivhaus education in the UK. Get involved with the remaining sponsorship opportunities for Elements 2 & 3 of the Programme.

Passivhaus Univesity training - site visits


Further information

2023 Student Competition


TDchallenge23 Webinars

Previous Passivhaus Student Competitions

Passivhaus Student Engagement

14th November 2022

Never miss UK Passivhaus news by joining the Passivhaus Trust mailing list Follow us on twitter @PassivhausTrust

< Back To News