Focus on performance not just appearance in the Christchurch rebuild

Christchurch City Council’s urban design team has turned in a report that looked at 46 housing developments built since new rules were introduced in 2016 to allow for greater housing density in that city. I had a complicated reaction when I read Christchurch mayor Lianne Dalziel’s quote, “…nothing is going to excite me about a blank wall or a high …

Passive House happy hour: Fast, factual, fun

Don’t already know about this? You’ve got some fun and learning to catch up on. This weekly gig is in its sixth month now, bringing Passive House experts together from around the globe. Most of the presentations are fairly technical and get into the details us Passive House geeks love. The live calls happen at 11 am each Thursday, which …

Mechnical ventilation is a no-brainer

Fresh air is good for people but also the buildings   I grumble about BRANZ, but the scientists working there are good people trying to fix problems with how we build. Unfortunately they are hamstrung by needing to do that while not changing how we build. That’s pretty much impossible. How about instead we just fix the Building Code? Proper …

Cooking with gas is like idling a car in your kitchen

This story about the American Gas Association promoting gas cooking via Instagram influencers makes me cringe. “Every time you ignite a gas stove, you’re filling your home with many of the same pollutants in exhaust from cars—carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, particulate matter, and formaldehyde, which are all associated with a range of chronic health problems like respiratory problems and cardiovascular …

Yes! MBIE action on climate change for building sector

Finally, it’s been published. This company has been working on better buildings to address climate change since 2011 and MBIE’s announcement today is definitely causing celebration in our office. It’s a party to celebrate the beginning of something big: a stepwise improvement in the Building Code to move NZ to nearly zero-carbon buildings. Think Passive House, made with low carbon …

iPHA Passive House tour time!

And this year it is virtual. OK, it’s not the same as getting our grubby fingers on everything but there are significant benefits to seeing inside Passive Houses around the world from the comfort of our living room. Good work on getting a range of videos shot in time; the quality (particularly sound) varies but all of them provide insights, …

Welcome media attention on improving NZ homes

Stuff ran an impressively long and well-researched story on Passive House and the need for net-zero buildings this week; it’s well worth a read in its entirety and a plug on your social media feed. Good to see the Dunedin co-housing build steadily progressing; wouldn’t it be great if all new homeowners could enjoy living somewhere that functioned as well as …

Choose gas for cooking? Please don’t.

I recommend against combustion devices in homes—all of them. Using gas to cook is particularly bad, with health impacts related to the indoor air pollution it causes. (American think tank RMI calls it a hidden health crisis). If a client specifies a gas hob, first I attempt to talk them out of it. After all, top chefs as Neil Perry, …

Calculating embodied carbon: live presentation at the NAPHA virtual conference

The North American Passive House Network is hosting a virtual conference next month. The tickets are cheaper and you save all those carbon emissions by not flying. Hopefully, you bought your Earlybird ticket already. Sustainable Engineering Director, Jason Quinn is part of the panel discussing “What’s Your Building’s Carbon Debt? You should know.” He and we got lucky, the session …