Department of Architecture | Ball State University  

Grondzik | Spring 2019


Passive design principles (superinsulation, airtight envelopes, elimination of thermal bridges, etc.) were pioneered in North America in the 1970s and 1980s and refined in Europe in the 1990s. These principles are universally effective in significantly reducing heating and cooling loads.  Graham Wright and Katrin Klingenberg: Climate-Specific Passive Building Standards, The National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

Instructor: Walter T. Grondzik, PE; LEED-AP-BD&C; Professor

405 Architecture Building | Department of Architecture | Ball State University
Phone: 765-285-2030
e-mail: for general communications:
e-mail for assignment submissions:
Office hours: as posted at office and by appointment

Course WWW Site:

Course Content: The Ball State University, Department of Architecture, has contracted with the Passive House Institute US (PHIUS) to offer the PHIUS Certified Passive House Consultant (CPHC) training to students enrolled in Arch 498-598. This training is essentially the same as provided for a non-nominal fee to professionals seeking the CPHC credentialwith the exception of the face-to-face WUFI training component (which will be handled in house). The content of Arch 498-598 is the content of the PHIUS training course, plus additional academic discussions to frame the PHIUS materials within the context of architectural engagement with high-performance buildings. Course participants will have the opportunity to take the CPHC exam and, if successful, become a CPHC.

Course Objectives:  This course is intended to provide Ball State architecture students with the opportunity to gain expertise in passive house design, and to become a certified passive house consultant, while in school. The foundational objectives of the course are as outlined under Course Outcomes.

Course Outcomes:  A student who successfully completes this course will: 

Prerequisites:  Sufficient experience with building design and building systems to comfortably explore advanced building design and building science.

Course Format:  This elective course will operate as a well-structured directed independent study—with regular oversight and guidance provided by the instructor. Much of the passive house content will be conveyed via online learning modules developed by PHIUS. In-class discussions will seek to further engage the online content, to explore architectural details associated with passive house projects, and introduce computer tools.

Time & Money:  In addition to University tuition expenses, nominal additional costs may be incurred for materials and supplies required for the presentation of the assigned investigations. These costs will vary from student to student.

Grading:  The final course grade will be based primarily upon regular and ongoing participation in class efforts (as reflected by attendance, involvement, and timely presentation of assignments). Final course grades determined as stated above will be impacted by performance on the PHIUS online CPHC exam as follows: online exam grade of 70% or higher, no impact; online exam grade between 65 and 69.9, one increment deduction; online exam grade between 60 and 64.9 two increment deduction; online exam grade between 55 and 59.9 three increment deduction; online exam grade lower than 54.9 four increment deduction.

The PHIUS training modules that are at the core of this course are quiz-based; the grades on these quizzes, however, will not be figured into course grading. The online CPHC exam is a required element of the course. Those with a passing grade on the online exam (and who chose to do so) may take the CPHC take-home exam.

Required Text:  There is no required text for this course. The PHIUS training modules (provided at no cost to students) will take the place of a textbook.

General Course Policies:  Submission of all assignments is expected and all work is due on time.  No work of any kind will be accepted after 5:00 PM on the last day of the semester. In fairness to all students in the course and in order to properly schedule reviews of work, due dates for all work will be enforced.  Work is generally due 30 minutes before the start of class and will typically be discussed and presented in class. Any assignment that is submitted late will negatively affect the course grade. Late in-class presentations will not be permitted—the class, meeting only once a week, will have moved on to a new topic.     

All work submitted for review and/or evaluation must be the individual product of the student who submits the work—reflecting a personal exercise of judgment regarding accuracy, quality, and completeness.  Using another’s work, or portions of another’s work, for submission as your own is grounds for a failing course grade and the basis for potential referral under academic honesty grievance procedures. Any and all information obtained from outside sources (books, web sites, interviews, drawings, reports, journals, ...) that substantially affects your own writing/reporting must be clearly and appropriately cited—this includes quotations, drawings, and images. The Chicago Manual of Style is recommended as a source for citation structure and content. Citation of sources becomes especially critical when work (including academic assignments) is to be publicly disseminated (as via posting to the internet, which will occur in this course).

If unforeseen and uncontrollable circumstances make it impossible for you to fully participate in course activities as scheduled, such a situation must be brought to the instructor's attention immediately. Delayed requests for consideration of such events will not be accepted.  Any request for deviation from published due dates must be made in a timely manner and be agreed to in writing. A grade of “I” (incomplete) will only be considered under the conditions outlined under university policies—i.e., unavoidable, extraordinary circumstances beyond the control of the student.

If you have a documented disability and require reasonable accommodations in order to succeed in this course or if you will need special assistance in the event of an emergency situation requiring building evacuation, bring this situation to the attention of the instructor during the first week of class. Ball State’s Disability Services office coordinates services for students with disabilities; documentation of a disability needs to be on file in that office before any accommodations can be provided. Disability Services can be contacted at 765-285-5293 or

Ball State University aspires to be a university that attracts and retains a diverse faculty, staff, and student body. The university is committed to ensuring that all members of the campus community are welcome; this is accomplished through the practice of valuing the various experiences and world views of those served. All members of the university community are expected to promote a culture of respect and civil discourse as evident in the Ball State Beneficence Pledge. For Bias Incident Response service information, go to or e-mail

The Learning Center offers free tutoring for courses in the science and humanities area, a variety of math and business courses, any writing task, some foreign language courses, and study skills such as organization, time management, test taking, and notetaking. If this service can be of benefit, call (765) 285-3780 or visit NQ 350 to make an appointment to meet with a tutor.

Selling or commercially distributing course materials may violate the Code of Student Conduct and/or the Information Technology Users’ Privileges and Responsibilities policy. Violations will be referred to Dr. Mike Gillilan, Director of Student Rights and Community Standards.

This course may be available as a focused seminar for the Master of Architecture degree under the category: Building practices and technology (BPT). If this is of interest or importance to you, confirm with the department's graduate program coordinator.

Special note for this taught-with course: it is required that a taught-with course provide an appropriate educational environment for graduate students, this requirement is based upon the assumption that graduate students will be taking what is fundamentally an undergraduate course. In this course, basic expectations for success and work load are aimed at graduate students. Undergraduate students will be expected to engage the course at a higher level than typical for undergraduate courses.

This course engages the following 2014 NAAB Student Performance Criteria: A.1/Professional Communication Skills; A.3/Investigative Skills; C.1/Research; B.6/Environmental Systems; B.7/Building Envelope Systems and Assemblies; B.9/Building Service Systems; and D.5/Professional Conduct. Amazingly, the 2014 NAAB criteria require NO formal student engagement with green, net-zero, carbon-neutral, or sustainable design. This course will attempt to rectify such an ethically-bankrupt educational philosophy.

ARCH 498 (4) | CRN 35485 | Monday  6:30-9:10 pm | Room AB 436 | 3 credits
ARCH 598 (4) | CRN 35486 | Monday  6:30-9:10 pm | Room AB 436 | 3 credits

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This page was last updated 7 January 2019