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Getting to Net Zero

The increased focus on the Climate Emergency has led to a stream of declarations to achieve Net Zero. But what does that actually mean to the built environment? Do we really know how to design and deliver a true net-zero building?

Back due to unprecedented popular demand – the online tutorial series consists of 8 pre-recorded sessions that can be completed at your leisure, plus a live interactive workshop to discuss and answer any questions.

Based on the successful Passivhaus Masterclass: Getting to Net Zero, this series of tutorials offers the same depth of knowledge and expertise.

Explore issues surrounding net-zero, and gain practical illustrations of what it takes to get to net-zero in both operational and embodied carbon.

What can be done at the design stage to achieve the biggest impact?

Who are the tutorials aimed at?

These tutorials will be of interest to anyone who wishes to understand why many low-energy eco-homes are far from net-zero. Architects, designers, and consultants who need to explain to clients how to achieve a zero-carbon building in practice will benefit. 

This course needs to be part of every architect, engineer and planner’s training – and possibly also of all parliamentarians’ induction.

Previous Masterclass attendee – Bernard Tulkens, Tectonics Architects

Tutorial Programme

Module  Section 
1 Operational
Where are we now and what is Passivhaus? Module 1 introduces the concept of zero carbon and explores the efficiency of our current new builds as a starting point. It includes a short introduction to the Passivhaus standard. John Palmer, Passivhaus Trust

Block booking available.
2 Operational
What is net-zero? Module 2 delves deeper into what we need a net zero building to be. How do houses use energy and what are the options for reducing energy demand? John Palmer, Passivhaus Trust
3 Operational
How does Passivhaus compare to our net-zero definition? Module 3 compares several common standards, including Passivhaus, against net zero requirements and investigates whether new Passivhaus classes –  Plus and Premium, produce net-zero buildings. John Palmer, Passivhaus Trust
4 Operational
Setting the challenge into context Module 4 examines net zero from the alternative perspective of deriving how much renewable energy might be available for homes in the future to indicate to what level we need to be building and retrofitting to. Then compares this to the volume and type of UK housing stock to describe the scale of the challenge of getting to net zero.  Draws all the previous operational net zero modules together to a mid-course conclusion. John Palmer, Passivhaus Trust
5 Embodied
Introduction to definitions and methodology
Module 5 gives a brief overview of what is included in embodied carbon analysis, methodology and datasets. This session also discusses key watch points when pulling materials data from BIM models and offers a brief discussion on the inclusion of MEP in the embodied carbon model. Kirsten Henson, KLH Sustainability
Block booking available
6 Embodied
Materials: timber and concrete
Module 6 starts to examine materials – what should we be using and in what way? Based on global consumption, embodied impact, and contribution to life-cycle carbon, what are the justifications for using three key materials: timber, concrete and steel? This session includes a more detailed look at the carbon profile of timber and concrete and key technical considerations in use, specification and procurement. Kirsten Henson, KLH Sustainability
7 Embodied
Materials: steel – and top tips for designing low-embodied buildings   Module 7 follows on from the previous session to include a detailed look at the carbon profile of steel and the key technical considerations in use, specification and procurement. The session concludes with a summary of top tips for designing low carbon buildings using real projects to highlight key considerations and potential impact. Kirsten Henson, KLH Sustainability
8 EmbodiedPH Ribbon demo
Module 8 is a demonstration of the integrated PH Ribbon which allows instant embodied energy calculations for a building modelled in the Passivhaus Planning Package (PHPP), presented by the creator of the tool, Tim Martel. Tim Martel, Optimal Retrofit
9 Final workshopReview and interactive workshop
This 2 hour session includes both a review of previous sessions, and a final case study workshop. Delegates will be asked to take part, contribute design ideas and review options for improvement before being presented with what actually happened on the ground.Live online. Date TBC. John Palmer & Kirsten Henson


  • The tutorials are pre-recorded sessions that can be watched on-demand at your leisure.
  • The duration of tutorials 1-8 is approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  • The final interactive workshop session is delivered live online via zoom.
  • The duration of the final workshop session is approximately 2 hours, including a review of previous sessions & Q&A. 
  • Each interactive workshop is limited to a maximum of 30 people.
  • Purchasing all tutorials is a pre-requisite to attend the interactive workshop.
  • Access to on-demand tutorials is valid for 12 months.


John PalmerKirsten HensonTim Martel
John Palmer, Research and Policy Director, Passivhaus Trust John is a certified Passivhaus consultant, SAP Assessor, systems engineer and experienced project manager. Authored Passivhaus: the route to Zero Carbon?
Kirsten Henson, Director, KLH Sustainability Kirsten provides specialist sustainability input to the International Olympic Committee & prominent Independent Design Reviews. Her research includes the sustainable use of aggregates considering aspects such as regional availability, social impacts of transportation and carbon footprint.Tim Martel, Architectural Technologist Tim is a Passivhaus Designer and Retrofit Coordinator with a background in calculations through commercial R&D. He is an expert of PHPP and has written the PHribbon tool.

The knowledge given by the presenters here is really high quality and well pitched; their capacity to provide valuable responses to wide ranging questions and commentary from the audience is impressive and reassuringly informed.

Previous Masterclass attendee – Joanne Murray, Gleeds


  Whole series    (8 on-demand tutorials + live interactive workshop)    Block of 4 modules  


Opening soon.

Further Information

Passivhaus: the route to Zero Carbon?

Research Report: Passivhaus the route to zero carbon