This article contains Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) concerning the time prior to purchasing designPH.

  • What is designPH?
    DesignPH is a plugin for SketchUp, which provides a 3D interface for the Passivhaus Planning Package (PHPP). See Home and Take a Tour for more about the features.
  • Is designPH now included in PHPP?
    No. You are free to choose. You can purchase a bundle of designPH & PHPP, but designPH is also available at an upgrade price if you are already a PHPP customer. To use designPH with PHPP9, you need designPH 1.1 or greater. Look here for more details.
  • Is designPH a replacement for the PHPP?
    No. designPH alone does not verify that your design meets the Passivhaus Standard. It performs a simplified energy balance calculation to help optimise the form.  The PPP file created by designPH can then be imported into PHPP to add further detail (eg mechanical systems and internal gains) check for overheating and perform the verification.

  • How to get/update the latest version of designPH?
    Look here for details on the best procedure taking into account your current designPH relationship.
  • Does my version of SketchUp meet the requirements of designPH?
    designPH works with both the free Make and Pro versions of SketchUp. Please also have a closer look here for system requirements.
    • The browser-based "SketchUp Free" version does not allow the installation of 3rd-party extensions such as designPH
    • SketchUp 8 & SketchUp 2013 - designPH is well tested and stable on both SketchUp 8 & 2013, Free and Pro versions.
    • SketchUp 2014 - REQUIRES designPH 1.0.20 or later - SketchUp 2014 uses Ruby 2.0, which made some quite radical changes to the Ruby API which designPH is built on. The update to designPH 1.0.20 or later is essential (free for all registered users) to use SketchUp 2014. Early designPH versions (1.0.1 and 1.0.6) are not compatible with SU 2014 - if you try to use SketchUp 2014 on these early versions, you will not be able to enter your registration code to activate designPH.
    • SketchUp 2015 - REQUIRES designPH 1.0.30 (PHPP8) or designPH 1.1 (PHPP9) or later
    • SketchUp 2016 & SketchUp 2017 - REQUIRES designPH 1.1.40 (PHPP9) or later.  designPH 1.0.30 (PHPP8) is not fully compatibile: there is a 'cosmetic' issue regarding the new Extension Security policies. You can still use designPH 1.0.30 successfully if you have the Extension Security policy set to "Unrestricted" (this is currently the default setting for SU 2016 M0).
    • SketchUp 2017 - in designPH 1.1.40-1.1.55 you will see a warning message to say that version of designPH may not be fully compatible with SU2017 since it was released before SU2017 was available, however as far as we aware there are no known incompatibilities. From designPH 1.1.57 the warning message will not appear.
    • SketchUp 2018 - in designPH 1.5.02 you will see a warning message to say that version of designPH may not be fully compatible with SU2018 since it was released before SU2018 was available, however as far as we are aware there are no known incompatibilities. designPH 1.6 is declared as compatible, so the warning message will no longer appear.
    • SketchUp 2019 - in designPH 1.6.02 you will see a warning message to say that version of designPH may not be fully compatible with SU2019 since it was released before SU2019 was available, however as far as we are aware there are no known incompatibilities. designPH 2.0 is declared as compatible, so the warning message will not appear.
  • What are the hardware requirements for running designPH?

That really depends on what SketchUp version you are using. Look here.

  • Does my version of PHPP meet the requirements of designPH?
    designPH requires PHPP 8.5 upwards. To use PHPP8 only, you need designPH 1.0.x (upgrade to 1.0.30 is recommended). To use PHPP9, you need designPH 1.1. Please also have a closer look here.
  • Which languages is designPH available in?
    Currently designPH is available in English, German, Spanish and Dutch (Spanish is available from v1.1.40 and Dutch from v1.1.55).
    • Selection of language in designPH - Since v1.1.55 the language can be manually selected using the drop-down language switcher at the top of the main dialog. In older designPH versions, the language selected depends on the language of SketchUp, so if you use German SketchUp then you will automatically get designPH in German. If you use SketchUp in a language not yet supported by designPH then you will get English as the default language.
    • Other language translations of designPH - In future we plan to provide translations of designPH in other languages through our resellers. 
    • PHPP language compatibility - PHPP is available is many more languages.  designPH in English or German can be used in combination with other translations of PHPP, although with some limitations. In PHPP8 in was sometimes necessary to re-assign the selected climate and components after export, where the names were translated. In PHPP9 most of these issues have been removed since the climates and components use language independent ID codes.
  • Is there an IP (US Imperial Units) version of designPH?
    Users of the PHPP-IP version can enable the designPH-IP export modes by activating designPH using their PHPP-IP registration code received from the reseller. A minimum of designPH v1.1.50 is required for compatibility with PHPP_IPv9. The calculation and data-entry in designPH itself remains in metric units.
  • Do you have a demo version of designPH?
    Yes, the demo can be found here.
  • Do you have any tutorials for the use of designPH?
    It is planned to deliver some video-tutorials and SketchUp-tutorials in the download-section of designph.org.  You can also find training courses running in your area from the Events section of the iPHA website http://www.passivehouse-international.org
  • Do I need to be an expert in SketchUp to use designPH?
    No, you do not need to be an expert in SketchUp as the level of modelling required to make a designPH analysis is relatively simple.
    You should have familiarity with at least the following basic drawing tools:

    • Rectangle, Line, Push/Pull, Offset, Move, Rotate, Tape measure, Eraser

    Useful commands / techniques:

    • Make Group / Edit Group / Explode, Duplicate and Duplicate array (using the Move tool with modifier keys)

    The following palettes / panels are very useful:

    • Entity Info (for reading element info, naming elements)
    • Layers (assigning elements to them and controlling visibility)
    • Dynamic Component Options (for editing window properties)

    Familiarity with the following is also useful but not essential:

    • Edit: Paste in Place, Edit: Delete Guides, View: Hide rest of model, View: Hidden geometry, View: X-ray mode, Outliner palette, Section cuts, Show / Hide individual elements and groups
  • I would like to purchase PHPP - is it useful to buy designPH at the same time?
    If you plan to buy PHPP anyway, designPH is not a large extra expense. If you are working on a more complex building it will simplify the process of entering building geometry into PHPP. It should be especially easy for those of you already familiar with  SketchUp and trust us, it makes working with PHPP much more fun. There is so much more planned and with your ownership of designPH you support the ongoing further development of the tool.
  • Is it possible to open an existing CAD file in SketchUp to work with it in designPH or do I need to redraw it?
    There is no possibility to import CAD files in the Free version of SketchUp, this is saved for the Full Version. Should however another CAD or BIM based programme be able to save or export SketchUp files (.skp) you can open these in SketchUp Free. Usually these models need some adjustments to get a clean analysis of the thermal building envelope (e.g. decorative elements should be removed).
  • Is there a way to export a file which has been drawn with SketchUp and analysed with designPH into another drawing program?
    In the Free version of SketchUp there is no possibility to export CAD files. This is a Pro only feature. But there are a few other CAD and BIM programmes in which you can open and edit SketchUp files (.skp).
  • Is it possible to assign and edit properties of windows and other building elements freely in the program?
    In designPH you will find exactly the same database of building components (windows, wall construction, etc.) as in the PHPP. Furthermore you can assign your own building components (eg. there is a U-value calculator same as in PHPP) or you can assign your own window properties. These are also exported to the PHPP. A future feature we are working on, is a so called "user database", so you can use frequently used components along your different projects and don´t have to put them in newly each time.
  • When are you planning future releases?
    The implementation of these future features also depends on the urgency by the designPH-users itself. You can vote for these features on designph.org as an designph member (owner) and so you also have influence on what will be developed earlier to better suit the needs of the users.
  • Will these future releases be free of charge for those who have already bought PHPP8 / designPH?
    As with PHPP, there is a range of discounts available for existing customers and iPHA affiliate members. Updates (which provide bugfixes and features improvements) for a given designPH version are free. Upgrades (which provide new features) will generally require an additional purchase. 
    * The last update for designPH 1.0.x / PHPP8 is designPH 1.0.30. 
    * To use designPH with PHPP9, you need to upgrade to designPH 1.1. There is a small upgrade charge for this, although resellers have some discretion whether or not this is charged. 

designPH versions:

  designPH DEMO   designPH EDU   designPH PRO
  no PHPP export   PHPP 8.5 PHPP 9    PHPP 8.5 PHPP 9 
v2.0.0 coming soon    

v1.1.6x (no longer supported)    
v1.0.30 (no longer supported)    



Software pre-requisites:


Microsoft Windows 7, 8.1 or 10 Mac OS X
PHPP Version if you use PHPP 8, please update to PHPP 9
Note: designPH 1.0 versions works exclusively with PHPP 8.5
if you use PHPP 7, please upgrade to PHPP 9
Note: designPH 1.0 versions works exclusively with PHPP 8.5
Spreadsheet To be able to import designPH export files into PHPP 8 and/or PHPP 9, you need a corresponding spreadsheet software. You can get detailed information on that in your current PHPP handbook.
Make or Pro

Google SketchUp 8.0.11751 (8.0 M2) is compatible with designPH 1.0.x/1.1.x/1.5.x.
Note: The "Install Extension" feature in SketchUp is only available from SU 8 maintenance release M2 onwards. For earlier versions no more install of the plugin is provided.

Trimble SketchUp 2013 (Make or Pro) is compatible with designPH 1.0.x/1.1.x/1.5.x.

Trimble SketchUp 2014 (Make or Pro) is compatible with designPH 1.0.x/1.1.x/1.5.x.

Trimble SketchUp 2015 (Make or Pro) is compatible with designPH 1.0.x/1.1.x/1.5.x.

Trimble SketchUp 2016 (Make or Pro) is compatible with designPH 1.1.x/1.5.x.

Trimble SketchUp 2017 (Make or Pro) is compatible with designPH 1.1.x/1.5.x.

Trimble SketchUp 2018 (Pro) is compatible with designPH 1.5.x.

Trimble SketchUp 2019 (Pro) is compatible with designPH 2.0.x.


[Download SketchUpall OS & languages].


There is no compatibility with Google SketchUp 7 version.

There is no compatibility with SketchUp "Free" (browser-based version) - it does not support any third-party extensions. 

designPH versions 1.0.0 - 1.0.6 are not compatible with Trimble SketchUp 2014 / 2015 and upwards.

designPH version 1.0.20 is not compatible with Trimble SketchUp 2015 and upwards.

designPH versions 1.0.30/1.1.0 are not 100% compatible with Trimble SketchUp 2016 and upwards.

(See also FAQ)