Frequently Asked Questions


Do you have specific questions about our Permaculture Design Course?


Do you have specific questions about our Building Your Permaculture Property book and courses?


Curious about passive solar greenhouses and greenhouse courses? Or perhaps you want to know more about rainwater harvesting?


Wondering if our Academy might help you practice permaculture at the next level?


Are you looking for consultation on acreage design, pre-property-purchase consult, coaching services, or guest teaching / speaking?


Are you a registered student with questions such as login, cancellation policy, switching courses, missing classes, etc?


For all questions related to our awesome Contour Map Generator.


For all other questions….

Find answers to your question quickly by using the categories below

Can you recommend a permaculture designer for my project?

Many of our alumni are offering professional permaculture design services (and other related-services), and many of them have been profiled in our Alumni series, which you can find here.

We also suggest that you crowd-source a recommendation on the Verge Permaculture & Friends Facebook Page.

Contour Map Accuracy and Data Sources

Most people who have used the contour map generator found it an amazing tool and it has saved many of them thousands of dollars that they might have spent on a traditional survey. However, the tool uses open source data so accuracy cannot be guaranteed.

The elevation data is provided by Mapzen. The underlying data sources are a mix of open source data from around the world, as such, quality and accuracy varies from place to place. You can see the approximated resolution for your location in the map. View an accuracy map at this page for more detailed information.

Data provided by is purely informational.

This tool is based on and works thanks to products/services of the following projects, companies or people: Leaflet, D3.js, Axis Maps, Mapbox, Mapzen, OpenStreetMap, Google Maps, Danilo da Rosa and Magick Media.

Can I access the course materials and lectures from my mobile device?

Absolutely! Our online Portal, where the course materials and lectures are hosted, is mobile-friendly. This means you can conveniently access the course content, including videos and readings, directly from your mobile device.

However, it’s important to note a couple of key points for the best learning experience:

  1. PSGD Tool Limitations on Mobile: While our Portal is mobile-friendly, the Passive Solar Greenhouse Design (PSGD) tool itself is not optimized for mobile devices. To effectively use this tool, which is an integral part of the course, you would need to access it from a computer or laptop.
  2. Live Sessions on Mobile: Although live sessions conducted via Zoom can technically be accessed on a mobile device, we recommend attending these sessions using a computer or laptop. This is because the larger screen and more robust interface of a computer provide a more conducive learning environment, making it easier to view presentations, engage with instructors and peers, and participate actively in the sessions.

In summary, while you have the flexibility to access much of the course content from your mobile device, for certain key elements like the PSGD tool and live sessions, using a computer or laptop will enhance your overall learning experience.

Do you do urban landscape consulting, design and/or installation?

We don’t do a lot of urban landscape consulting, unless you are looking at full site planning and associated infrastructure, such as including the design of house and/or greenhouse and looking to include elements such as power generation, water systems and food systems. To learn more, and/or discuss your project you can book a Good Fit conversation with us here.

Not also that many of our alumni are offering professional permaculture design services (and other related-services), and many of them have been profiled in our Alumni series, which you can find here. You can filter the profiles by the “Consulting” or the “Design & Installation” tags.

We also suggest that you crowd-source a recommendation on the Verge Permaculture & Friends Facebook Page.

Once I’ve registered, can I switch my registration into a different Verge course?

See our cancellation policy for more details.


What is the difference between active and passive solar greenhouses?

The distinction between active and passive solar greenhouses hinges on their heating mechanisms: passive greenhouses maximize heat from natural sunlight using design techniques like proper orientation, thermal mass, and specialized insulation, aiming for self-sufficiency without external energy inputs. In contrast, active greenhouses employ mechanical systems like solar thermal collectors and fans to regulate temperature, offering precise control but at the cost of complexity and higher operational energy. He would likely suggest that while active systems provide more consistent conditions, passive designs are typically more sustainable and economical, aligning with permaculture principles.

How long do I have access to the course materials after the course ends?

As a student who has purchased the Passive Solar Greenhouse Design course, you are entitled to perpetual access to not only the course materials and recordings but also the course community. This means that even after the course has officially concluded, you can continuously revisit the lectures, resources, and other course materials.

Additionally, your access to the course community remains open indefinitely. This ongoing access allows you to remain connected with fellow students, instructors, and the broader community associated with the course. You can continue to participate in discussions, share experiences, seek advice, and stay updated on the latest in passive solar greenhouse design.

The advantage of having this unrestricted access is that it provides you with a valuable, evergreen resource. Whether it’s for refreshing your knowledge, applying concepts to new projects, or staying engaged with a network of like-minded individuals, the lifetime access ensures that your learning and growth in passive solar greenhouse design continue well beyond the course’s duration.

I am not receiving your emails, or, they are arriving in my spam. How do I change that?

First, make sure you “whitelist” emails from

Please take less than 2 minutes to follow the steps below to make sure you receive our emails:

1. Please “whitelist” this address and any other email addresses that end in To find out how to whitelist an email address, just Google “how to whitelist” and your email provider (gmail, hotmail, yahoo, etc.).

2. In addition, you might choose to prioritize emails you receive from so that they get directly to your primary inbox. You can do this by either “starring” or “marking as important” the first few emails you receive from us.

3. If you have Gmail or any other email provider that filters emails into inbox, promotions, social, etc., be sure to “drag” any of our emails to your primary inbox. See detailed instructions for doing this below!

Gmail Tabs – How To Deliver In The Primary Inbox

If you’re using Gmail Tabs in your inbox, nearly all Verge Permaculture emails will typically arrive in the Promotions tab by default.

You can adjust Gmail Tabs settings to deliver an email to the primary tab in 2 easy steps.

Two Steps to Deliver in Gmail’s Primary Tab:


Click on our email > drag and drop the email to the Primary Tab:


Click Yes when offered the option to “always deliver” to Primary.

What is a passive solar greenhouse for temperate climates and cold climates?

Specialized design strategies are essential for passive solar greenhouses in cold climates to maximize efficiency and sustainability. We’re looking for robust insulation, particularly on the non-sun-facing sides, and the use of high-quality glazing materials that allow for maximum light penetration while minimizing heat loss. We should also highlight the necessity of incorporating thermal mass, like water barrels or dense materials, to store heat during the day that can be released at night, maintaining a steady temperature within the greenhouse.

Orientation is also critical, we recommend a south-facing orientation in the Northern Hemisphere to capture the low-angled winter sunlight. We suggest perimeter and foundation insulation to prevent ground-heat loss, and the strategic use of ventilation to manage humidity and temperature. Additionally, we advise the use of energy curtains for retaining heat during the coldest times and creating microclimates inside the greenhouse to protect the most sensitive plants, further extending the growing season in frigid conditions.

Are there any prerequisites or required knowledge before starting the course?

There are no strict prerequisites for enrolling in the Passive Solar Greenhouse Design course. However, to maximize the benefits of the course, there are a couple of areas where some foundational knowledge could be particularly advantageous:

  1. Basic Understanding of Permaculture Design: While not mandatory, having a foundational understanding of permaculture design principles can be very beneficial. This knowledge will help you grasp how your greenhouse can integrate into and complement the overall design of a property, aligning with sustainable and regenerative practices.
  2. Comfort with Using Spreadsheet Tools: As our Passive Solar Greenhouse Design (PSGD) tool is based on spreadsheet software, comfort with using basic spreadsheet functions will be helpful. Familiarity with tools like Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets will allow you to navigate and utilize the PSGD tool more effectively for your greenhouse design.

These recommended areas of knowledge are not prerequisites but rather suggestions to enhance your learning experience and ease your journey through the course. If you’re new to permaculture or spreadsheet tools, don’t worry — the course is designed to be accessible and engaging, even for beginners. Plus, our community and instructors are here to support you every step of the way!

What do I need (i.e. the technical requirements) in order access / view / stream the E-Course or webinar?

Accessing our E-courses and associated online material is easy. If you’ve played a video on your computer from Youtube or Vimeo before, then you’ve got all you need participate!


  • A desktop or laptop computer
  • An up-to-date internet browser (Internet Explorer 8.0 or above, Firefox 2.0 or above, or Safari 3.0, or Chrome 4.0 or above)
  • Speakers/headphones
  • A broadband internet connection (for a reliable viewing experience at medium quality we recommend a downstream connection speed of at least 400-700 Kbps. You can test your connection speed here)


We use an online platform called Zoom for our live webinars. It is similar to Skype, but simpler. All you need to join (from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android) is to click on a url that we will provide to you on the Student Dashboard.

The full system requirements for the webinars, including operating system requirements, supported tablet /mobile devices, supported browsers, and bandwidth requirements can be found here. (Note that you only need to meet the requirements for “Webinar Attendees” – no camera is required).

Don’t have high speed internet? You can also call in via phone, but note that toll rates may apply.

What are the disadvantages of passive solar greenhouse?

Some disadvantages of passive solar greenhouses include limited climate control due to reliance on external weather conditions, the risk of overheating without precise management of ventilation and shading, and the significant initial investment required for specialized materials and design features. These challenges necessitate a fine balance: a design that captures and retains sufficient solar heat while preventing excessive temperatures, and a willingness to invest more upfront for the long-term benefits of sustainability and reduced operational costs.

How much time should I allocate each week to keep up with the course?

To keep up effectively with the Passive Solar Greenhouse Design course, here’s a breakdown of the time commitment you should consider:

  1. Live Course Sessions:
    • During the first 4 weeks of the Foundational curriculum, there is one live session per week, each lasting 3 hours.
    • Starting week 5, as the course progresses into the Comprehensive curriculum, the frequency increases to two live sessions per week, also 3 hours each.
  2. Additional Study Time:
    • Reviewing Course Resources: Allocate at least 1-2 hours per week for reviewing the lecture recordings, readings, and other supplementary materials.
    • Using the Design Tool: Depending on your project’s complexity, setting aside 1-3 hours per week to work with the design tool would be beneficial.
    • Community Participation: Engaging with the course community, sharing insights, and learning from peers can take about 1 hour per week.
    • Completing Knowledge Checks: Set aside approximately 1 hour per week for knowledge checks and quizzes to assess your understanding.
  3. Designing Your Own Greenhouse: The time spent on designing your own greenhouse will vary based on your pace and the project’s complexity. A conservative estimate would be 2-4 hours per week, especially as you apply the concepts learned in the course to your design.

What if I’m not able to attend the in-person portion of the course, can I still attend this course and complete my certification?

If you are unable to attend the in-person portion of the course, we recommend that you only register for the Foundational package now. We will have upgrade options available in Fall 2024, for you to complete the remaining coursework to receive your certification. 

I want to receive (more/less) emails from you. How do I update my email preferences?

At the bottom of every email we send you, there is an option to update your email preferences OR to completely unsubscribe from receiving our emails.

Please note that if you opt to completely unsubscribe you will also not receive any emails about the products, programs or courses you may have purchased or be enrolled in.

What Does It Cost to Build a Passive Solar Greenhouse?

So you like the ideas and you’re thinking about getting started. Of course, your next question is.. “How much does it cost?” Generally speaking, the cost to build a passive solar greenhouse ranges from $40- $100/sqft depending on features and finishes. 

In this video Rob walks through how much he would have to pay to build a passive solar greenhouse just like ours. Some things to consider include; Do you want to pay someone to do your greenhouse design, blueprints and construction? Or would you rather do it yourself, with expert help and guidance?

Is there a certification or recognition upon completing the Comprehensive curriculum?

Upon successfully completing the Comprehensive curriculum of our Passive Solar Greenhouse Design course, we are pleased to offer a digital certificate of completion. This certificate will be provided in PDF format, making it convenient for you to download, save, and print if desired.

This certificate serves as formal recognition of the knowledge and skills you’ve gained throughout the course. It reflects your dedication and commitment to learning the principles and practices of passive solar greenhouse design. Please note that this digital certificate of completion is only available for those who complete the Comprehensive curriculum.

The certificate can be a valuable addition to your professional portfolio, especially if you’re looking to apply these skills in a professional setting, such as in sustainable construction, agriculture, or consulting. It’s a testament to the time and effort you’ve invested in mastering the complexities of passive solar greenhouse design.

What should I bring?
  • Bring yourself a writing utensil and a notebook for your notes (or your preferred means of taking notes). 
  • We recommend you also bring a reusable water bottle & coffee mug as well.  
  • If you are coming from out of town, you will want clothing suited for a warm/dry climate (approximately 23 to 26 C or 73 to 79 F).
I Didn’t Get an Email from You. Help!

If you are anxiously awaiting a webinar confirmation, product receipt, welcome email, or any other email from us but nothing seems to be showing up in your inbox, junk mail, or other email folders, it is likely that at some point you completely opted out of all email communication from Verge, and therefore we can’t send you anything, even if you want us to.

To change this, please fill out the form below:

Do you offer consulting for greenhouse design?
We offer phone consulting around the world. If you have taken the course we offered a reduced rate of $100/hr to our past students.
Will this course teach me construction skills such as framing, wiring, tool use, etc?

The primary focus of the Passive Solar Greenhouse Design course is on the design principles and technologies essential for effectively designing a Passive Solar Greenhouse (PSG) using science-backed diagnostics and techniques. Therefore, the course does not specifically include instruction on construction skills such as framing, wiring, or tool use.

However, we do recognize the importance of these skills in the overall process of building a greenhouse. To address this, our team of instructors includes professional contractors who specialize in PSG construction. These experts bring a wealth of practical knowledge and experience to the course. While the course content itself may not cover construction skills in detail, these instructors will be available to answer any construction-related questions you might have. This can include queries about framing techniques, electrical wiring considerations, tool recommendations, or any other construction aspects relevant to building a passive solar greenhouse.

In essence, while the course is centered on design principles, you’ll have access to professional insights and guidance on the construction elements, ensuring a well-rounded understanding of both the design and building aspects of a passive solar greenhouse.

Where can I stay while I’m there?

Accommodations are not included with your course purchase. There are many options available to accommodate a variety of budgets, including group or individual airbnb rentals; hostels, university dorms, hotels, local hosts, etc. A more detailed list of available & recommended accommodations will be provided as part of your course package.

How do I login in to your website and/or re-set my password?

To Login Or Create An Account

To login, click on the Portal menu item and select LOGIN if you already have an account, or CREATE AN ACCOUNT if you need to create one:


Lost your password?

If you’ve lost your password, visit the password reset page.


Will I still receive my PDC certificate if I have to miss a class?

A student may miss up to, but no more than 2 full days of the in-person PDC course, and still receive their course certificate. Students in the Premium package are eligible for unlimited refresher courses, and may attend later PDC classes to make up for missed time. Students in the online PDC will have access to all lectures and can watch at a different time. We recommend you watch the class you missed before the next class begins.

Are you available for a site check for my greenhouse?
At the moment we do not offer site visit to anyone outside of Calgary, Edmonton and Central Alberta.
Are there any hands-on projects or practical assignments in the course?

The Passive Solar Greenhouse Design course includes several practical assignments, although they are structured differently from conventional design and build projects. Here’s what you can expect:

  1. Use of the PSGD Tool: A significant part of the course involves using the Passive Solar Greenhouse Design (PSGD) tool. This tool is integral to conducting a thorough analysis and designing your greenhouse. You’ll be guided on how to effectively utilize this tool to design a greenhouse that suits your specific needs and context.
  2. Contextual Research and Application: Assignments will often involve researching information relevant to your unique situation, such as local climate conditions, available materials, and specific site characteristics. This research is crucial for applying the course concepts to real-life scenarios.
  3. Interactive Learning Activities: While direct building assignments are not part of the course, you’ll be engaged in various interactive learning activities. These activities are designed to deepen your understanding of the course material and how it applies to the practical aspects of greenhouse design.
  4. Regular Knowledge Checks: To ensure that you are grasping the material effectively, the course includes regular knowledge checks. These may come in the form of quizzes, discussions, or reflective exercises.
  5. Application-Based Learning: The course emphasizes applying learned concepts to your project. You’ll be encouraged to continuously think about how the course material relates to your own greenhouse design, considering all the variables and conditions that apply to your situation.
  6. Community Feedback and Discussion: The course also leverages the community platform for discussions and feedback. You can share your progress, get insights from peers, and seek advice from instructors and fellow students.

In summary, the course is structured to provide a practical, hands-on learning experience through the use of analytical tools, research assignments, and continuous application of the concepts to your personal greenhouse project. This approach ensures that you not only learn the theoretical aspects of passive solar greenhouse design but also how to apply this knowledge effectively in a real-world context.

What’s included in the package price?
  • 40+ Hours of instruction
  • You will be provided with a light breakfast, lunch & afternoon snack and we will be able to accommodate most dietary restrictions. You will be responsible to provide your own dinner. We will be following up with a survey to gather this detailed information from our registered students before July. 
  • Hands-on experience completing a permaculture project installation (Permablitz)
  • Tour of various permaculture properties/projects in the Calgary area
How Do I Find The Portal and My Online Materials?

When you register for a course or webinar, you will be prompted to create a login account on our site and will receive an email confirmation with a direct link to our Portal page.

Alternatively, simply visit the url:

Note that you will be prompted to Login to the website in order to view any material you have access to.

Is the Comprehensive Passive Solar Greenhouse course suitable for Cold/Hot/Dessert climates?
It is possible to design a greenhouse for high altitude deserts where night time temperatures would get very cold. Hot deserts need shade structures more than greenhouse structures.
How interactive are the live lectures? Can I ask questions and engage with other participants?

Our live lectures are designed to be highly interactive, providing ample opportunities for you to actively participate, ask questions, and engage with others. Here’s how interactivity is integrated into our live sessions:

  1. Real-Time Interaction: During the live lectures, you’ll be able to communicate in real time not only with the instructor but also with fellow students and moderators. This immediate interaction makes the learning experience dynamic and engaging.
  2. Using the Chat Feature: The Zoom platform includes a chat feature, which you can use to type questions or comments during the lecture. This is a great way to participate if you prefer not to speak out loud or if your question arises while someone else is speaking.
  3. Direct Question and Answer Opportunities: In addition to the chat, there will be specific times allocated for Q&A, where you can ask your questions directly to the instructor and receive immediate feedback. This is a key part of ensuring that the lectures are as interactive and informative as possible.
  4. Engagement with Other Participants: Interaction isn’t limited to just the instructors. You are encouraged to engage with your fellow students during the live sessions, fostering a collaborative learning environment.
  5. 24/7 Access to the Course Community Group: Beyond the live lectures, you can continue conversations, discussions, and interactions in the course community group on our Portal. This platform is available around the clock, allowing you to connect with the course community at any time.
  6. Encouraged Active Participation: We encourage all students to be active participants. By turning on your cameras and joining in verbal conversations, you contribute to a lively, collaborative atmosphere that enhances the learning experience for everyone involved.

In summary, our live lectures are structured to be as interactive as possible, with multiple channels for engagement, both during the lectures and continuously through our course community group. This interactive format is central to our teaching approach, ensuring that you can fully immerse yourself in the learning process and benefit from the collective knowledge and experience of the course community.

How do I search your blog?

You can enter keywords in the Search field at the top of our site, or search our Blog using the categories and tags in the right sidebar. If you find a page or blog entry on your topic of interest, post a comment or question in the Comments field at the bottom. We’re pretty good at responding there, and your question will help others!

When is your next PDC offered?

All current PDCs open for registration can be found on the PDC Listing Page. The best way to find out about new PDC announcements is by signing up for our mailing list.

Can I run the Passive Solar Greenhouse excel tool on Mac/PC?
At this point the sheet works best on PC, however it runs great in Office 365 online. Past students that have this issue have purchased a one month subscription to Office 365 to complete the course.
What are the technical requirements to participate in the live online sessions via Zoom?

To ensure a smooth and engaging experience in our live online sessions via Zoom, there are several technical requirements that you should be prepared to meet:

  1. Stable Internet Connection: A reliable, high-speed internet connection is crucial for streaming live video and audio without interruption. This ensures that you can participate actively without any connectivity issues.
  2. Compatible Device: You’ll need a computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone that is capable of running Zoom. Most modern devices are well-equipped for this purpose.
  3. Zoom Software: If you’re using a computer or laptop, it’s recommended to download the Zoom desktop client for the best experience. For tablets and smartphones, the Zoom app is available in the respective app stores. You can also join sessions directly through your web browser if you prefer.
  4. Webcam and Microphone: As we encourage students to turn on their cameras and participate in verbal conversations, make sure your device has a working webcam and microphone. This not only fosters accountability but also enhances the collaborative learning experience with your peers.
  5. Headphones/Earbuds (Recommended): Using headphones or earbuds can improve your ability to hear the session clearly, especially in noisy environments, and also helps to minimize feedback during verbal interactions.
  6. Adequate Lighting and Quiet Space: To be seen clearly when your camera is on, participate in a well-lit room. Also, try to be in a quiet space to minimize background noise during the session.
  7. Basic Zoom Proficiency: Familiarize yourself with basic Zoom functions such as muting/unmuting your microphone, turning your video on/off, and using the chat feature. This will help you participate more effectively in the sessions.

By meeting these technical requirements, you will be well-prepared to engage fully in our live online sessions, ensuring an enriching and interactive learning experience with both instructors and fellow students.

Where is the event?
  • Event will be hosted in Calgary, Alberta, Canada
  • Venue: (Tentative) Hull Services Campus: 2266 Woodpark Avenue SW
    • Campus Map
    • Featuring Permaculture installations: Passive Solar Greenhouse, market garden, food forest and pond.
  • Site is accessible via public transit. 
Who have you taught for in the past?

Our past guest teaching engagements include:

  • Olds College, Olds, AB
  • Medicine Hat College, Medicine Hat, AB
  • Southern Alberta Permaculture, Lethbridge, AB
  • ESAGE (Edmontonians Supporting a Green Economy), Edmonton, AB
  • Riverdale Community Group, Edmonton, AB
  • Permaculture Research Institute Saskachewan, Saskatoon, SK
  • Green Calgary, Calgary, AB
  • Nanton Horticultural Society, Nanton, AB
  • Mountain Waters Retreat Centre, Nelson BC
  • Okanagan Centre for the Environment, Penticton BC
  • Element Eco Design, Vernon BC
  • Grand Prairie Regional College, Grand Prairie, AB
Please update my email address or other profile information.

If you are looking to update the information that we have on file for you (including your email address) – input your current email below & we’ll send what we have & instructions on how to make any updates / changes!

Input your email & we'll send you the information we currently have on file.
You'll be able to review & update from there. 
Can I upgrade at a later time? When is the last date I can upgrade my package?

If you are registered for the Permaculture Design Course you can upgrade until the last day of classes – please check the course dashboard for exact dates.

What’s the difference between the PSGH Case studies, The Comprehensive course and The Intro course?
The Case studies will inspire your imagination and show you what’s possible along with an overview of what worked well and what didn’t work so well. This will inform your final design.
The Introductory Course gives you all the essentials you need to get started on your own passive solar greenhouse.
The comprehensive course is a 10-module course, where Rob will walk you through each step of the process he uses to design world-class passive solar greenhouses for his clients. You will walk away from this course with completed plans for your greenhouse.
How does Verge’s online Portal enhance my learning experience in this course?

Our online Portal serves as the hub for our diverse range of courses and student community and plays a crucial role in the Passive Solar Greenhouse Design Course. Here’s how:

  1. Centralized Course Materials: For the Passive Solar Greenhouse Design Course, the Portal provides easy access to all essential materials. This includes lecture recordings, reading materials, assignments, and supplementary resources. Having everything centralized aids in efficient learning and resource management.
  2. Connection to a Broader Learning Community: While focused on your course, you also get the advantage of being part of a larger student community. This access enables you to engage with peers from various courses, offering a wider perspective and networking opportunities.
  3. Live Event Coordination: The Portal is where we update and manage all live events related to your course and beyond. This includes schedules for upcoming lectures, workshops, and Q&A sessions, ensuring you stay informed and engaged with every aspect of the course.
  4. Interactive Community Platform: Within the Portal, the community platform specific to the Passive Solar Greenhouse Design Course allows for interaction with fellow students and instructors. It’s a space for collaborative learning, discussion, and sharing insights related to your course topics.
  5. Access to a Wealth of Additional Resources: While primarily focused on your course, you can also explore additional learning materials and resources available on the Portal. This access broadens your learning scope and provides supplemental information that can enhance your understanding of the course material.
  6. User-Friendly Experience: The Portal is designed to be intuitive and easy to navigate, making it straightforward for you to find and utilize the resources for the Passive Solar Greenhouse Design Course, as well as to participate in the community discussions and activities.

By housing the Passive Solar Greenhouse Design Course on our comprehensive online Portal, we offer you a focused yet expansive educational experience. You benefit not only from the specific resources and community of your course but also from the broader educational and networking opportunities available through our long-established community of designers and builders.

When is the event?
  • July 22 – 27, 2024
  • Class from 9am – 6pm daily (with regular breaks)
  • Link to detailed class schedule
Can I hire you to teach a private course?
Maybe. We book up well in advance and we do a limited number of private courses – so make you sure you contact us early.
I didn’t receive my username and password. How can I login?

When you enrol in an online course or program on our website, we automatically create a user account for you on the website based on the email you provide upon enrolment.

If, for some reason, you do not receive the user account email that is generated by our system you can easily regenerate / resend the user account email by visiting the password reset page and inputting your email.


I need help…what are my options?

Having troubles with your map? Need a hand? No worries, book a time slot below to have Mitch, the man behind the CMG course, guide you through whatever issues you may be having. Consults are online and 1-hour in length via Zoom.

What kind of support can I expect during the course? Are there opportunities for one-on-one interaction with instructors?

Throughout the Passive Solar Greenhouse Design course, you will receive comprehensive support to enhance your learning experience, including opportunities for direct interaction with our instructors.

  • Live Q&A Sessions: We frequently host live Q&A segments during our course sessions. These segments are an integral part of the live lectures, where you can ask questions and receive immediate, in-depth responses from the instructor. This format encourages an active learning environment and ensures that your specific queries are addressed.
  • Course Community Group Interaction: Our instructors and mentors are actively involved in the course community group hosted on our Portal. Here, you can post questions, engage in discussions, and receive additional support. This community platform serves as a valuable resource for continuous learning and interaction outside of the live sessions.
  • Direct Engagement During Live Sessions: In each live session, students are invited to participate and ask their questions directly to the instructors. This approach ensures a dynamic and interactive learning experience, allowing you to engage with the course material on a deeper level.
  • Responsive Support: Our instructors and mentors are dedicated to providing timely and helpful responses to your questions, whether posed during the live sessions or on the community group. This ongoing support is designed to facilitate your understanding and application of the course content.

The combination of live Q&A segments, active participation in the course community, and the opportunity to interact directly with instructors during live sessions all contribute to a supportive and interactive educational experience. Our goal is to ensure you feel guided and supported throughout your journey in the Passive Solar Greenhouse Design course.

What is the cancellation policy, if I am unable to attend in person after purchasing?

You’ll find the terms & conditions for our products and services here. Please be sure to read them before you complete your purchase! If you still have questions after reading our policy, send an email with the details of your situation to and we will evaluate on a case-by-case basis.

How can I hire you to speak at my event?

Send an email directly to us ( with “INVITATION TO SPEAK” in the subject, and include answers to as many of the following questions as possible:

  • What’s your name and what organization are you representing?
  • Is there a title or website for your event?
  • When and where is the event taking place (date, city, and nearest airport)?
  • What would you like Rob to speak about?
  • How long is the time slot that you have in mind?
  • What is the expected attendance and seating capacity of the room?
Do you take volunteers on your farm? Can you recommend somewhere to volunteer?

We take Willing Workers on Organic Farms (i.e. wwoofers) on our farm in Central Alberta!

For more information, see the page here.

We have several other recommendations for finding volunteer opportunities:

What is a passive solar greenhouse?

A passive solar greenhouse is a greenhouse designed to utilize sunlight for heating and lighting as efficiently as possible, reducing or eliminating the need for additional electrical or heating systems. This approach contrasts with other types of greenhouses that often rely on external energy sources for heating, cooling, and lighting.

The ‘passive solar’ aspect refers to several key design principles:

  1. Orientation and Glazing: The greenhouse is typically oriented to maximize southern exposure in the Northern Hemisphere (or northern exposure in the Southern Hemisphere). This orientation, combined with transparent glazing materials (like glass or clear plastic) and proper angling, allows maximum sunlight penetration when it’s needed most.
  2. Thermal Mass: Materials that can absorb, store, and later release heat (such as water containers, concrete, or stone) are incorporated into the design. During the day, these materials absorb heat from the sun and then slowly release it at night, helping to maintain a stable temperature.
  3. Insulation: Adequate insulation, especially on the north side and other areas not receiving direct sunlight, is crucial to prevent heat loss.
  4. Ventilation: Strategic placement of vents and windows facilitates natural air circulation, assisting in temperature regulation and humidity control.

Will I have access to the lecture recordings if I miss a live session?

Absolutely! We understand that schedules can be busy, and it might not always be possible to attend every live session. To accommodate this, we ensure that all our live lectures are recorded and made available to you.

  • Timely Availability: Our goal is to have the full recordings of each session available within 8 hours of the live event. This quick turnaround ensures that you can catch up on what you missed without significant delays, keeping you in sync with the class.
  • Accessing Recordings: You can find these recordings on the course page, specifically designed for our Passive Solar Greenhouse Design course. The direct link to access the course recordings, as well as all course materials is:
  • Convenient Learning: By providing these recordings, we aim to offer flexibility in your learning journey. You can watch the lectures at your convenience, pause, and revisit complex topics as needed, ensuring a comprehensive understanding of the course material.
  • Long-Term Access: Once posted, these recordings will be available for you to view throughout the duration of the course and forever after, allowing you to refer back to them as often as needed for review and reinforcement of concepts.

We’re committed to making your educational experience as accessible and accommodating as possible. With these lecture recordings, you have the freedom to learn at your own pace and on your own schedule.

What is your speaking background and experience?

In less than 10 years, Rob Avis left Calgary’s oil fields and retooled his engineering career to help clients and students design integrated systems for shelter, energy, water, waste and food, all while supporting local economy and regenerating the land.  He’s now leading the next wave of permaculture education, teaching businesses, innovators and professionals how to combine technology with earth science and eco-entrepreneurism.

His past speaking engagements include:

  • Airdrie Horticultural Society
  • Calgary Horticultural Society
  • Calgary Economic Development
  • Nanton Horticultural Society
  • Pathways 2 Sustainability Conference 2011
  • Green Calgary
  • Permaculture Research Institute Saskatchewan
  • Saint Mary’s University College
  • Riverside Community Group
  • University of Calgary Ecological Design Department
  • ReThink Red Deer
  • Craik EcoSolar Fair
  • City of Calgary
  • Urban Systems
  • Mount Royal University “Under Western Skies” Conference
  • Master Gardener Program, Calgary Zoo
  • Organic Connections Conference, Regina
  • Groundswell Network Society, Invermere
  • Permaculture Voices Conference, San Diego, 2014
  • Global Earth Summit, 2014
  • AMEC E&I
  • and more…


Do you have an Online PDC?

In April 2020 we will launch our first online PDC. After the live program has ended you can purchase the recorded version. Get more info…

What payment options are available for the course, and are there any payment plans?

For the Passive Solar Greenhouse Design course, we have structured the payment options to align with the two levels of enrollment, corresponding to the distinct curriculums within the course. Here’s how it works:

  1. Single Payment for Each Curriculum Level:
    • We do not offer payment plans; instead, each curriculum level – Foundational ($247) and Comprehensive ($599) – requires a single payment.
    • This approach simplifies the enrollment process, allowing you to choose the curriculum that best fits your learning goals and make a one-time payment for the entire course duration.
  2. Two Levels of Enrollment Based on Desired Outcome:
    • Foundational Curriculum Enrollment ($247): If your goal is to gain essential knowledge and skills for building a basic passive solar greenhouse, you can enroll in the Foundational Curriculum.
    • Comprehensive Curriculum Enrollment ($599): For those seeking a more in-depth exploration, encompassing both foundational and advanced concepts in passive solar greenhouse design, the Comprehensive Curriculum is the suitable choice.
  3. Payment Methods:
    • We accept various payment methods, including major credit cards and online payment platforms. The exact options will be detailed at the time of enrollment.
  4. No Payment Plans:
    • As we do not offer payment plans, the course fee for the selected curriculum level is to be paid in full at the time of enrollment.

By offering these straightforward payment options, we aim to make the enrollment process clear and accessible for all students. Whether you choose the Foundational or Comprehensive Curriculum, you’ll find that each offers comprehensive value and education to meet your greenhouse design aspirations.

How do the live online lectures work, and what platform do you use for these sessions?

Our live online lectures are a key component of the Passive Solar Greenhouse Design course, providing an interactive and engaging learning experience. We conduct these sessions using Zoom, a widely-used and user-friendly video conferencing platform.

Here’s how you can join these sessions:

  1. Access Through the Portal: The link for each Zoom session will be available on the Events tab of our dedicated online Portal at This portal is your go-to resource for all course-related activities.
  2. Email Notifications: To ensure you don’t miss a session, we will also send out an email with the Zoom link one hour before the lecture starts. This gives you ample time to prepare and log in to the session.
  3. Joining the Session: Simply click on the provided link to join the live lecture. If you’re new to Zoom, it’s easy to set up and doesn’t require any complicated installation. You can join from your computer, tablet, or smartphone.
  4. Interactive Experience: During the live sessions, you’ll have the opportunity to engage with the instructor, ask questions, and participate in discussions. This interactive format is designed to enhance your understanding and allow you to dive deeper into the course material.
  5. Technical Support: If you have any issues accessing the Zoom sessions, our technical support team will be available to assist you. We strive to ensure a smooth and hassle-free experience for all our participants.

By using Zoom for our live lectures, we aim to create an accessible, convenient, and dynamic learning environment that brings the classroom experience to your home or office. Join us to engage in a live, collaborative, and enriching educational journey!

What consulting services do you offer?

We offer farm design, acreage design, micro and broad acre water-harvesting, shelterbelt/agroforestry system design, pre-purchase property assessments, and green infrastructure design. For more information, see our Consulting Page.

As a PDC Student, where do I find my online materials and extra digital resources, as applicable?

This six minute video provides a comprehensive overview of how to access your Student Dashboard and associated course materials:

The Student Dashboard

Once you are logged into the site, the WELCOME STUDENT! menu item will appear. Hover over the WELCOME STUDENT!  menu item and navigate to the STUDENT DASHBOARD (or simply visit the url:

From there, scroll down and select the tab called ONLINE COURSES & MATERIAL to view any online courses or online material associated with in-person courses, as applicable.

If you are a Permaculture Design Student, and you are looking for course slides, courses resources and other features, head to the item called EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT YOUR PDC (START HERE).

Hit the expand arrow and you’ll see the item PDC- COURSE RESOURCES & FEATURES ACCESS.  Click there.

Now you’ll see the a table outlining all the features and resources included in each of our Foundational and Premium packages.  Links and/or instructions for delivery are included for every item.

For instance, the access link for the Digital Resource Library, which includes a digital copy of the slides, handouts and 30+ additional resources, is shown below:

How can I apply what I learn in this course to my existing gardening or farming practices?

The knowledge and skills you acquire from the Passive Solar Greenhouse Design course can be seamlessly integrated into your existing gardening or farming practices in several impactful ways:

  1. Enhanced Season Extension: One of the primary benefits of a passive solar greenhouse is the ability to extend the growing season. You can apply this to your existing practices by starting seeds earlier in the spring and growing crops later into the fall, thus maximizing your yield and efficiency.
  2. Microclimate Creation: By understanding and implementing the principles of passive solar design, you can create optimal microclimates within your greenhouse. This knowledge can be applied to outdoor gardening as well, allowing for better plant placement and protection strategies based on sun exposure, wind patterns, and other environmental factors.
  3. Sustainable Resource Management: The course’s focus on sustainability and regenerative practices will help you incorporate methods like rainwater harvesting and efficient water usage into your farming or gardening. These practices not only reduce your environmental footprint but also can lead to cost savings and more resilient cultivation methods.
  4. Soil Health and Biodiversity: The principles learned about soil health management and creating biodiverse ecosystems within a greenhouse can be transferred to outdoor gardening. This includes techniques for soil improvement, companion planting, and natural pest management.
  5. Systems Thinking Approach: Applying the systems thinking approach, which is a cornerstone of this course, allows you to view your garden or farm as a holistic system. This perspective helps in making decisions that benefit not just individual plants or crops but the entire ecosystem of your garden or farm.
  6. Innovation and Adaptation: The course encourages innovative thinking and adaptation of designs to suit specific needs. This mindset can inspire creative solutions in your existing practices, such as developing unique garden layouts or experimenting with new cultivation techniques.
  7. Community and Knowledge Sharing: Participation in the course community can provide additional insights and ideas that can be applied to your gardening or farming. Engaging with peers and experts in the field offers a wealth of knowledge that extends beyond the course curriculum.

In essence, the Passive Solar Greenhouse Design course equips you with principles and techniques that are not limited to greenhouse design but are broadly applicable to various aspects of gardening and farming, enhancing your overall approach to sustainable and regenerative agriculture.

How do I hire you for consulting?

Our consulting firm is Adaptive Habitat. Our website summarizes the types of consulting services we provide.

Complimentary Client Intake Meeting

For project-driven consulting, we have found that the very best way to quickly & effectively assess your project and our ability to help is to connect for 20 – 30 minutes over the phone. We call this a client intake meeting.

During this no-fee and no-obligation meeting Rob will discuss your project with you, determine fit, and then recommend options for proceeding as well as provide a high-level idea of what it might cost and what value we can provide should we get involved. You can schedule your complimentary client intake meeting here.

Note also that if you only have a few quick questions, Rob can usually answer them during these initial consultancy calls.

Hourly Consulting

Rob is also available for virtual consultancy on an hour by hour basis. If your project is small and/or you are looking for high-level technical advice, you can book a one hour virtual consultancy here.

View the booking page for his up-to-date hourly consulting fee. Payment is due upon booking. If you are unsure about our hourly consulting and want to first discuss whether we can help, you are welcome to start with a Complimentary Client Intake Meeting.

What is your cancellation policy?

Updated: January 2023

Verge Permaculture Academy

When you enroll for an annual or a 6 month subscription, if within 10 days of your enrollment you are not convinced that the program is a fit for you, we’ll provide a full refund.

Monthly subscriptions are not refundable.

All academy memberships are subscriptions (annual, bi-annual, or monthly) and will renew automatically. To cancel your subscription, simply contact us.

All content made available to you within the Academy as part of your subscription, including access to live event recordings, is accessible to you only while your subscription is active and in good standing.

PDC, Masterclass, and any Live Course Cancellation

For courses paid up-front in full:

If you need to cancel your PDC, Masterclass, or other Live course registration for any reason:

  1. Up to 10 days following the 1st class: we will refund your course fee but will deduct an administrative fee of $150 (plus applicable taxes), however, you will lose access to all course materials and recordings. Tuition for the PDC On-demand course is not refundable.
  2. More than 10 days following the 1st class: We cannot provide a refund.

For payment plans:

You can cancel your payment plan anytime (but you will lose access to all course materials and recordings). Payments made towards plans are not refundable.

On-Demand Course Cancellation

All on-demand courses are non-refundable, but you retain lifetime access through your account on the Portal. Login HERE to access your course today.

What is the course’s approach to sustainability and regenerative practices in greenhouse design?

The course’s approach to sustainability and regenerative practices in greenhouse design is deeply rooted in the core principles of permaculture design, which is central to Verge Permaculture’s educational philosophy. Here’s how this approach is integrated into the course:

  1. Systems Thinking Approach: We emphasize a systems thinking perspective, which means that we don’t just look at the greenhouse as an isolated element but as a part of a larger ecological and environmental system. This approach helps in understanding the interconnections and interactions between the greenhouse and its surrounding environment.
  2. Sustainability in Design: The course focuses on sustainable design practices, which include the use of renewable resources, minimizing waste, and ensuring that the greenhouse contributes positively to the environment. This involves choosing materials and methods that have a lower environmental impact and promote biodiversity.
  3. Regenerative Practices: We go beyond sustainability to incorporate regenerative practices. This means designing greenhouses that not only do no harm but actively improve the environment. This could involve techniques that enhance soil health, increase biodiversity, and contribute to the regeneration of the local ecosystem.
  4. Holistic Education: Our course content is framed to provide a holistic education. We delve into how a greenhouse fits into the overall design of a property and how it can play a role in a sustainable lifestyle. This includes understanding the greenhouse’s impact on energy use, water cycle, and local flora and fauna.
  5. Application of Permaculture Principles: The course is imbued with permaculture principles such as ‘Observe and Interact’, ‘Catch and Store Energy’, and ‘Use and Value Diversity’. These principles guide the design process, ensuring that the greenhouse is efficient, productive, and harmonious with nature.
  6. Encouraging Creative Solutions: We encourage students to think creatively about how their greenhouses can serve multiple functions and contribute to a regenerative lifestyle. This might include integrating food production, water harvesting, and habitat creation.

In summary, the course approaches greenhouse design from a permaculture perspective, ensuring that each design is sustainable, regenerative, and part of a larger ecological system. It’s about creating greenhouses that are not only productive but also contribute positively to the environment and the well-being of the community.

Do you offer children’s programming? Any suggestions for integrating permaculture in schools?

Several of our alumni are geared up specially to work with children and/or schools. Grounds for Change, Regenerate Design, Plein Air Arts, and Puzzle Permaculture are just a few. We also recommend that you scroll through our Alumni Profiles to find more!

I love your program and your open-source tools. How can I support this initiative?

We’ve invested a substantial amount of dollars and hours into the development of the Contour Map Generator and the Adaptive Habitat Self-Study Program and other associated tools.

Help us to continue to support this free program and free tools by making a donation:

Alternatively, give us a 5-star review on either of these platforms:

What is the Passive Solar Greenhouse Design Tool, and how will it be used in the course?

The Passive Solar Greenhouse Design (PSGD) Tool is a specialized spreadsheet-based tool developed specifically for the Passive Solar Greenhouse Design course. It plays a pivotal role in the course by aiding in the design and planning of passive solar greenhouses. Here’s a closer look at the tool and its application in the course:

  1. Purpose of the PSGD Tool:
    • The tool is designed to assist in assessing the feasibility of passive solar greenhouses in various cold climate regimes.
    • It enables you to calculate critical factors like the R-value of materials, glazing type, thermal mass, and lighting requirements.
    • Additionally, it helps estimate the approximate annual cost of lighting and heating appliances for your greenhouse.
  2. Application in the Course:
    • Throughout the course, you’ll be instructed on how to effectively utilize the PSGD Tool to analyze and design your passive solar greenhouse.
    • The tool aids in making sophisticated design decisions, even for those without an engineering background, by simplifying complex calculations and considerations.
    • You’ll apply the tool to your specific context, using it to tailor your greenhouse design to your site’s unique characteristics and needs.
  3. Features of the Tool:
    • The PSGD Tool includes modules for light calculation, thermal mass estimation, and a subterranean heating and cooling system (SHCS) tool based on fan optimization formulas.
    • While it provides a comprehensive framework for design, it’s important to note that the tool is based on generalized formulas and rules of thumb, making it a guide rather than a definitive design solution.
  4. Using the Tool in the Course:
    • The tool is integrated into the course curriculum, allowing you to apply theoretical knowledge to practical design scenarios.
    • Regular knowledge checks and assignments will involve using the tool to analyze and plan your greenhouse project.
    • Instructors, including professional contractors specializing in PSG construction, will be available to guide you in interpreting and applying the tool’s outputs to your design.

In summary, the PSGD Tool is an essential component of the Passive Solar Greenhouse Design course, facilitating a practical, hands-on approach to learning. It enables you to apply scientific principles and techniques to the real-world task of designing a functional and efficient passive solar greenhouse.


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