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Passive Building Strategies LEED CE Course

Passive HousePassive buildings are designed to heat and cool themselves without the use of mechanical systems. To be labeled as "passive", a building must comply with the Passive House Standard, a highly efficient style of architectural design that aims to leverage natural resources such as abundant, free solar energy, geothermal heating and/or cooling, intelligent ventilation and building envelope systems. The result is energy conservation, cost savings, reduced greenhouse gas emissions and reduced maintenance over time. Passive buildings can also reduce noise, reduce thermal discomfort and have better lighting quality. 

Buildings are arguably the greatest energy consumers and carbon emitters in the United States, and HVAC is the biggest energy user in buildings. As such, using passive building design is a potential strategy to addressing building energy waste. 

Building professionals should have an understanding of passive building design and benefits.  While still a nascent industry in the U.S., this course is designed for professionals who want to learn the basics of this growing trend in the green building market, while learning about the potential environmental, financial and certification benefits.

This “Passive Buildings” course will cover the history, purpose, characteristics and benefits of passive buildings.  The course will cover the 5 main elements of passive design:

  • Aperture
  • Absorber
  • Thermal mass
  • Distribution
  • Control

The course will discuss a variety of passive building strategies, as well as the pros and cons of each.  Such strategies include fenestration or glazing, direct gain, indirect gain, isolated space, shading with overhangs and foliage, daylighting, and strategic thermal mass design.  Building orientation is also critical for passive building (for example, in the Northern hemisphere, buildings should be oriented East-West with southern facing windows).

The course will also explore how passive buildings can contribute to green building rating systems such as LEED, Green Globes, BREEAM, QSAS and Esidama Pearl certification, as well as how passive buildings meet the ASHRAE standards for energy efficiency. You will learn about passive building strategies through case studies, including a residential home in Carbondale, Illinois and Visitors Center at Zion National Park in Utah.


  • CE Hours: 1.5 (90 Minutes)
  • Level: 100

Learning Objectives:

  1. Describe the characteristics of Passive Building
  2. Analyze the pros and cons of various passive building strategies
  3. Evaluate the LEED applicability of various passive building strategies
  4. Discuss a case study of a sustainable building using passive solar techniques

About the Instructor:

Dave PrattDavid Pratt is a Professional Mechanical Engineer in the State of Texas, and also a Certified Energy Manager and LEED AP.  He has a Bachelor of Science in Engineering from the University of Michigan and an Master of Science in Engineering Management from the Air Force Institute of Technology.  David has over 12 years of experience in Civil and Mechanical Engineering, Construction and Sustainable Design, and is a frequent contributor to Green Buildings Online.


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