At last week’s Construction Tech, we welcomed Mariana Pickering and Enrico Bonilauri, co-founders of the Boulder-based Emu Systems. Emu offers courses, including “hands-online” virtual training, for tradespersons interested in learning about Passive House design and construction. Mariana is a Certified Passive House Tradesperson, while Enrico is the author of the Emu North American CPHT training textbook and Emu’s lead trainer.
Mariana and Enrico were not always tradespersons. They met while working on their masters programs for sustainable design at the University of Sydney, and then moved to Italy where they started an architecture firm. While the two were working in Italy they discovered Passive House, but soon realized that there was a knowledge gap between design and trades when it came to sustainable architecture.
“We came up against the reality that you can design anything however you want to design it,” Mariana said, “but you may hit problems when you have a builder team that’s unfamiliar with it.” This led them to dedicate more and more time to builder education. When they eventually relocated to Colorado, they decided that they would take this knowledge and experience training tradespeople to offer Certified Passive House Tradesperson courses and Emu was born.
Emu pods in their natural habitat. The two outside pods comply with Passive House standards, while the middle pod (the "Code Pod") complies with the 2015 IECC code.
One of their most popular programs has been their Passive Pod Workshop, which is the focus of their Construction Tech presentation. The workshop is standard agnostic—it is open to anyone who has already taken an accreditation course—and it provides tradespeople with more of a hands-on approach than your typical classroom. In the video below, Mariana and Enrico go over what types of subjects they touch on in their training and some of the learning objectives for the classes.
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