As a part of the Australian Government’s Endeavour Leadership Program (ELP), a group of TAFE NSW Northern Beaches building students have travelled to British Columbia to learn about passive design.

The ELP is an initiative of the Australian Government to promote research and professional development with Australia’s priority partner countries.

Considering we can count the amount of passive-designed homes in Australia on three hands, it’s reassuring to hear that Australia is trying to penetrate this train of thought, and who better to start the trend with than a new generation?

With design that eliminates the need for energy-use, reduces greenhouse gas emissions and completely diminishes those terrifying heating and cooling bills you dread at the end of every quarter – This seems like a sure switch. So why are there only 15 of them in Australia?

While they’re an extra 5 to 10 percent more expensive per square metre than your average house, the counter argument is, that it repays ten-fold in reduced energy and operational costs.

Still a relatively new method of design originating from Germany in 1992 also known as ‘Passivhaus’, Canada and other colder climates have showcased its effectiveness thanks largely to its unmatched thermal benefits.

Vancouver’s Greenest City Action Plan hopes to make it the greenest city in the world by 2020, which is why it is pushing sustainability out of every nook and cranny from their infrastructure.

TAFE NSW’s program has provided students with an opportunity to have first-hand knowledge of the perks of this emerging design, but most importantly, has provided a global context of why and how this design works.

TAFE NSW Carpentry and Joinery head teacher, Dwane Stockini says the tour was a great opportunity for TAFE NSW students to visit and learn about to build energy efficient, environment friendly, healthy and safe homes from the likes of Canada.

Jacob Heckenberg, a student at TAFE NSW Northern Beaches says, “I believe passive design is the next step in building, so it was great to experience it first hand from some of the world’s best.”