Masonry & Passive House: Retrofits & New Construction (Sarah Gray and Marine Sanchez)

4 Hour Morning Workshop • 8:00 AM – 12:00 PM • Thursday, Oct. 18


Course Overview:

The workshop will first highlight building enclosure detailing options available with masonry walls, and summarize the different approaches for new-build and retrofit walls reaching Passive House levels of performance. As there isn’t a “perfect” masonry wall assembly, each approach has pros and cons. Details need to be closely assessed and optimised, to ensure the desired efficiency is reached with each approach. This optimization process will raise questions ranging from how to minimize thermal bridging with new-build masonry walls, all the way to how to avoid interstitial condensation in more difficult interior retrofit scenarios.

Course Training Outline:

The workshop will be split into the following sections:

1. Requirements and approaches to Passive House and EnerPHit certification

2. Masonry wall options

3. Thermal bridging minimization and other considerations with brick veneer walls

4. Design and moisture risk management of masonry walls with interior insulation


Sarah Gray has been based in Toronto for nearly 15 years and has a Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering from the University of Cincinnati and a Master of Science in historic preservation from the University of Pennsylvania. Her work is focussed on heritage building rehabilitation, existing building condition assessment and renewal, and building enclosure consulting for new construction. She serves as a peer reviewer for the Association for Preservation Technology Bulletin and has taught building science courses at the University of Toronto. Sarah was awarded a 2010 Craftsman Award from the Canadian Association of Heritage Professionals for work at the Confederation Life Building in Toronto.


Marine recently joined the specialist Passive House team at RDH Building Science, focusing on large-scale mixed-use projects. Before joining RDH’s Toronto office, Marine was a Principal and Building Science Engineer in one of the English pioneering Passive House consulting companies. Her goal is to deliver high performance buildings at scale more easily and more efficiently, across different sectors. She has a particular focus on the site delivery of high performance buildings (new-build and retrofit), which she demonstrated by leading several site teams unfamiliar with the standard towards Passive House certification throughout her career. Key projects include the delivery of the largest multi-residential certified project in the UK, as well as London’s first EnerPHit residential building. Marine has been an instructor in the Passive House community since 2013, in both the UK and Canada. She is now also supporting the City of Toronto to implement their Zero Emissions Buildings Framework and deliver better performing buildings.