PH-Academy - "Passive house of the future" Academy platform for knowledge transfer between building developers

Builders and developers of residential buildings in low energy and passive house standard were invited to an academically moderated direct exchange of experiences, to turn them into competent users of new technologies.

Short Description




Starting point / Motivation

Concepts of lowest energy and passive houses have successfully proven gain of comfort and sustainability. Though, developers and landlords report observing difficulties with the implementation of these innovative technologies and with the acceptance by occupants, and some do no longer apply these new technologies at the moment.

The Passive House Academy gathered the various experiences articulated by the developers, and initiated a structured transfer of knowledge to acquaint unexperienced developers, as well as early adopters, with successful experiences and best practice examples of lowest energy and passive houses in residential building, and to turn them into operators with skill and competence. In addition, the process of this knowledge transfer has been accompanied by expert advisors.

Contents and Objectives

Target group were the decision-makers of developers of public housing projects, as well of commercial residential buildings, and representatives of property management divisions, who are not merely interested to gain specific knowledge, but primarily were in a position to contribute know how and experience.

Experiences from innovators developing, implementing, operating and maintaining residential lowest energy and passive houses buildings were collected and scientifically edited and concentrated, with the expert knowledge of the project team of the Passive House Academy and of the advisory board. Results were communicated to the developers, and were the base for further discussions.

It was the goal of the Passive House Academy to create and initialize a platform to provide assistance for planning, quality management, and specific training to improve the quality of future residential housing projects.


The Passive House Academy offered an appropriate platform for a structured transfer of knowledge. The concept was to concentrate on the target group of innovators and early adopters. Thereby, the mutual benefit for all participants became evident. It was a crucial requirement to be able and willing to share one´s own experiences with the group, to take part in the process of knowledge transfer.

The project was designed in two sections.

  1. Survey: The decision-makers and project directors of the developers have been interviewed about their specific experiences, difficulties und achievements with past and ongoing housing projects. The results of the interviews, held all over Austria, were collected and scientifically edited, concentrated, and made anonymous, with the expert knowledge of the project team of the Passive House Academy and of the advisory board. (March to July 2010).

  2. Workshops: Based on the analysis of the interviews, the agenda for the workshops of the Passive House Academy, to be held in four regions of Austria, was developed. Participants of the workshops were the invited decision-makers of developers of residential housing projects, and representatives of property management divisions, and additionally representatives of regional funding institutions The expert advisors delivered essential inputs in study-groups, dealing with specific topics. (August to Dezember 2010).

The Passive House Academy is designed to be a periodical platform for a continuous and advanced transfer of knowledge among developers. In future, not only established developers of innovative housing concepts shall participate, also newcomers shall be integrated. Open questions and unsolved matters, which have emerged out of the first workshop series, shall be covered in consecutive workshops. The advisory board as well as the representatives of the regional public funding authorities shall further on be involved in the transfer of knowledge.


It was for the first time, that representative experiences were collected from develeopers all over Austria. The state of knowledge and the needs and requirements of the developers were gathered and scientifically edited, and a platform for mutual communication was started. Now it is necessary to continue this successful process.

A significant result of the Passive House Academy are comprehensible technical bulletins (FAQs) for the target groups of business managers, planning directors and property managers, concerning the special topics of heating, ventilation, prevention of overheating during summer, and building ecology.

Important results of the first workshop series comprised specific topics of planning, bid invitation, and execution of construction work, as well as operating functionality, and methods to train and acquaint the inhabitants to features of passive houses.

The passive house standard is suitable for all social groups, and a significant reduction of fluctuation due to an increased users satisfaction could be stated.

Simple operation devices for the ventilation system, which are easy to understand for the inhabitants, and prevention of mildew due to the mechanical ventilation were noted positively.

To train and inform the occupants it was stated, that various ways of communication are necessary: printed instructions, personal conversations, b online services, and information supply from independent institutions. Besides it is important not to raise too high expectations concerning very low operation costs, safety from allergies, and no overheating of passive houses in summer.

To gain maximum quality in the processes of planning and construction work of passive house buildings it was stated, that methods of integral planning, where all required consultants are involved in a very early stage of the process, are essential. Besides, accurate controlling and quality management, as well as monitoring of the technical equipment, were noted to be crucial.

The developers have generated various successful concepts for building equipment and appliances, and gained valuable experiences through their already implemented housing projects. Therefore, it is essential that the process of mutual information for developers, provided by the Passive House Academy, will be continued.

All the positive experiences, which were gathered until now and will emerge in the near future by this dialogue, will bring advanced know how to the developers involved so far, and to interested newcomers.

Prospects / Suggestions for future research

All participants of the Passive House Academy expressed the urgency to continue the workshop series with a deepening selection of topics. The Passive House Academy is designed to be a long-term periodical platform for a continuous and advanced transfer of knowledge among developers, based on the scientific background of the project team, with support of independent expert advisors, and with the integration of regional public funding authorities.


Project Partners

Project management

Donau-Universität Krems, Department für Bauen und Umwelt
DI Rudolf Passawa, MAS; Projektabschluss durch DI Daniela Trauninger 

Project or cooperation partner

  • bauXund Forschung und Beratung GmbH
    DI Dr. Thomas Belazzi, MAS, DI Emanuel Mairinger, Ing. Ulrike Schwarz, MSc
  • BOKU, IKI – Department für Bautechnik u. Naturgefahren
    DI Roman Smutny, Univ. Prof. Arch. DI Dr. Martin Treberspurg
  • e7 Energie Markt Analyse GmbH
    DI Walter Hüttler, DI (FH) Johannes Rammerstorfer
  • Dr. Ronald Mischek ZT GmbH
    DI Beatrice Unterberger
  • Schöberl & Pöll GmbH
    DI Helmut Schöberl
  • Wien – Wiener Wohnbauforschung mit Unterstützung vom wohnfonds_wien
  • Niederösterreich – Niederösterreichische Wohnbauforschung
  • Salzburg– Salzburger Wohnbauforschung mit Unterstützung von SIR – Salzburger Institut für Raumplanung & Wohnen
  • Kärnten – energie:bewusst Kärnten, WKO – Wirtschaftskammer Kärnten, IG Passivhaus Kärnten

Contact Address

DI Rudolf Passawa
Danube University Krems - Department for Building and Environment
Dr.-Karl-Dorrek-Straße 30, A-3500 Krems
Tel.: +43 (2732) 893-2650
Fax: +43 (2732) 893-4650