Passive Pod Workshop

Meet the latest development in our one-of-a-kind, hands-on builder training class and workshopThe Emu Passive Pods! Throughout our advanced CPHT courses in Denver, Colorado, student builders will apply course learning to the construction of a self-contained mini Passive House Pod.

The intent of the Passive Pods is to provide a kitted learning tool to accompany our textbook and help our Trainers deliver high quality, unbiased instruction.

What is a Passive Pod?

Passive Pods are Emu’s proprietary instruction tool meant to accompany our North American CPHT curriculum. We have seen that builders learn best when they can get their hands on the products and methods we discuss in class, but it is often logistically prohibitive to cover all the lessons in a site visit or wall mockup demo. Plus, many basic questions can be answered in the field by sales reps and manufacturer demonstrations.

The main structure of the Pods is built by Emu, ready to go for applying to the classroom units. Each step of the Pod manual reflects lessons learned in various classroom units. A selection of donated materials are provided for the students to apply according to the instructions.

For comparison’s sake, we have one “Code Pod” on hand for Trainers to be able to point to business as usual practices that can go awry.

All of the pods have the same net volume, even the Code Pod. The only difference is that the Code Pod complies with the 2015 IECC code, while the Passive Pods comply with the international Passive House standard requirements for “Cool, Temperate Climate” (similar to US Climate Zone 5). These code standards apply to things like U/R Values of assemblies, thermal bridge requirements, air sealing, and window types. (For example, the Passive Pods all have high performance Passive House certified windows, whereas the Code Pod has a standard regulation, building code compliant window purchased from a local hardware and supply store).

Passive Pod teams simulate reality

Each student team is assigned job roles to simulate a construction site, and they have documentation requirements that must be met. Every section of the Passive Pod build coincides with lessons learned in class, red flags they must catch, and design flaws they must recognize that will negatively affect their structure over time.

Each team is given a manual and job roles. And a fun team name.
The Site Supervisor oversees the work of the Air Sealing Sub and Window Installer, and reports the correct documentation.
The most important part of a Passive build is an integrated team. The Passive Pod Workshop is designed to reinforce that concept.

Passive Pods are brand-neutral

We have the fortune of receiving product donations from the best of the best in the Passive House manufacturing world, and we give the students an opportunity to ask questions in a brand-neutral environment where science reigns.

We don’t sell any of the products used in the Pod; they have all been donated by manufacturers and distributors who know that we teach the good, the bad, and the ugly of all the options on the market, and they are confident enough in their products to support the #BuildPassive movement.

Testing the Passive Pods

Go to our blog to see the results of the first class to ever use the Pods in class, where the student-built Passive Pods maintained 20°F higher temperatures than the Code Pod in overnight Resiliency Test in the Rocky Mountain snow: Read More

At the conclusion of every CPHT course, we run three tests on the team built Passive Pods in comparison to the Code Pod:

  • Airtightness Test – a qualitative test where we pressurize the pods and use smoke to seek out leaks to mitigate
  • Thermal Bridging Test – another qualitative test using infrared cameras to spot weak spots in the thermal envelope of the pods
  • Resiliency Test – a quantitative competition, using temperature and relative humidity sensors to track the performance of the Passive Pods against each other and against a Code Pod when left outside overnight

A big thank you from Emu and our CPHT students to: