With a desire to share lessons learned from the process we’ve been going through over the past couple years in offering advanced builder training in North America, we submitted a paper for the International Passive House Conference, scheduled for September in Gaobeidian, China. We are honored to announce that not only did our paper get accepted, but the committee also voted to have Enrico give a lecture on the topic.

An introduction to our presentation for the 23rd International Passive House Conference:

As the Passive House standard has been evolving to facilitate design in different climates, some building certification criteria have been becoming climate-specific  (e.g. the heating demand for EnerPHit and PER factors). It is now essential that the international Passive House community turn its attention towards improving professional training, especially for those on the side of implementation and delivery of quality.

Metrics for localized curriculum development

Emu Systems has been a Passive House Training Provider in the US since 2017. We have run several courses and exams with valuable feedback on metrics such as participant feedback and pass rates by type of exam question. Every time we run a class and exam, we have a better understanding of specific training needs for American construction professionals. We’ve expanded greatly upon the original PHI learning objectives and curriculum by addressing local products and construction methods, as well as economic and market analysis specific to North America. Extensive technical examples were developed to illustrate PH criteria in conditions ranging from subtropical Florida to arctic Alaska.

Passive Podlympics as a learning tool

In Emu CPHT courses in Colorado, participants work on mock-ups that are then assembled into micro-Passive Houses. We call them the “Passive Pods”. Errors are intentionally included in the mock-ups, with participants required to identify and to solve them. The micro-PHs are then tested with an infrared camera and with a smoke test. Last February, thanks to Colorado weather, at the end of the workshop we were able to run a Resiliency Test on the Pods by leaving them in the snow overnight. Hence, the Emu Podlympics were born. 

Brand-neutral exposure to high-performance products

With the workshop and the testing, participants can review the principles learned during class, while trying out products and interacting with each other. Manufacturers’ contributions are limited to the supply of samples and workshop materials, while the training is kept strictly independent in order to be as unbiased as possible toward the range of products available on the market. Inevitably, the logistics of running hands-on workshops is what makes local training of tradespeople so necessary.

The Passive House standard has been evolving over time, resulting in better implementation in different climates.  The experience gained in North America can help the entire international community moving towards more effective training outside of Europe, and more specifically towards skill development for Passive House tradespeople.

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