Saint-Gobain partners with Passive House Academy to offer high quality training

Passive House Academy Saint-Gobain has created a course in partnership with the Passive House Academy that will allow UK tradespeople to gain accreditation for one of the world’s most energy efficient standards.

Training takes place over five days and features a combination of classroom lectures and presentations, with a significant amount of time also spent on hands-on training. This mix of theory and practical work means the course, which is delivered by experienced personnel from the Passive House Academy in partnership with the Construction Industry Board (CITB) at Saint-Gobain locations across the UK, offers a greater opportunity to learn the techniques behind the Passive House standard.

Speaking to Roofzine during a course held in May at Saint-Gobain’s Erith facility in Kent, Art McCormack, one of the founders of the Passive House Academy, said: “The course is very much about attitudes, skills and knowledge, so it involves theory and practice. We provide insight into how a Passive House works in respect of the major components: insulation, airtightness, thermal bridging, windows and doors, and mechanical ventilation. (Trainees) learn that knowledge and the skills come through practical work. They learn to describe the different construction types, understand their composition and what they constitute, and then they start to work with the materials. It’s a holistic approach, and we adopt and apply different learning techniques to ensure that.”

Participants also learn to interpret data from Passive House Planning Package (PHPP) and learn several new building techniques, including maintaining airtightness and avoiding thermal bridging.

Stacey Temprell, residential sector director at Saint-Gobain, said: “What makes the Passive House course so unique is the focus on practical, hands-on elements, enabling sub-contractors, consultants and architects to gain the necessary skills and professional development to achieve the Passive House standard on site.”

Mr. McCormack added: “I’m pretty sure this is the best place for Passive House training in the world because it involves theory and practice.”

The course ends with participants sitting a short exam to receive international accreditation from the Passive House Institute as a certified Passive House Tradesperson.

Patrick Ryan, one of the Passive House trainers, said: “There are about ten times more designers than tradespeople in the Passive House sector, so there is a gap that needs to be filled. It’s important that people onsite know how to do a good job, as well as understanding the benefits of doing it right, and the consequences of doing it wrong.”

Taking part in the Passive House training also offers a competitive advantage to those companies participating. According to Saint-Gobain, the demand for Passive House buildings is growing, with more than 1,000 expected to be built this year. This figure represents a hundredfold increase over the last five years, and suggests that Passive House standards could one day become normal practice.

Art McCormack commented: “Right now I don’t think enough people are aware of (Passive House) in the industry – or politically – but these standards are what we are moving towards and they will have to be adopted. The builders who learn the techniques and have the knowledge and have the right attitude – that’s critically important – will be ready to deal with the changes that are coming down the track.”

Until these working techniques become regulation, Saint-Gobain’s Passive House training course can still offer tradesmen a worthwhile experience that can help them on site.

Daniel Grocutt of Grocutt & Murfit spoke to Roofzine while attending the c

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