Sweden is on track

Did you know there is a country that has adopted Passive House performance levels in timber framed buildings, sorted the MVHR issues and has quite innovative framing practices we should examine? Check out Swedish platform framing: there is lots for us all to learn. US architect Gregory La Vardera has this to say (emphasis mine): “Balloon Framing revolutionized house building …

Local design and manufacture focused on zero energy building

FMI is a family-owned designer and manufacturer of building components including joinery, glass, facades and cladding, marketed under brands like Eurowood, Nextra, Vetro Raccordi and Fairview. The Sustainable Engineering team has been consulting on FMI’s Zero Energy House project. It is a different approach to solving New Zealand’s problems with both housing quantity and quality. Instead of bespoke houses built …

Better health is first result of H1 improvements

I appreciate the work Germán Molina is doing to get his PhD findings out into the world. I’ve linked to work he’s publishing on his blog, Buildings for People, before. A recent post argues the case for handing responsibility for the Building Code to the Ministry of Health. A novel idea. I’m not convinced but I agree with his evidence.  …

LEB projects in Christchurch, explained

It’s one thing to build bespoke higher-performing homes under contract for a client. It is quite another measure of risk to build spec homes that out-perform the Building Code minimums. There are currently two different developments in Christchurch, neither yet in construction, that are targeting LEB certification. Both are by Nest Residential. The first is a three-townhouse project in Addington …

A LEB is not a PH

It’s not correct to say a Low Energy Building (LEB) is a Passive House. Yes, it is a PHI standard. But to claim it is a Passive House, as a real estate agency’s media release did last month, is going too far. Yes, LEB is a building certification awarded by the Passive House Institute but it is confusing to conflate …

MBIE response (and ours) to NZ Emissions Reduction Plan

MBIE has summarised its take on the New Zealand Emissions Reduction Plan. Building for Climate Change (BfCC) will be its tool to make this happen through legislation. We will finally be stepping up to designing for thermal performance (eg operational carbon) and embodied carbon. At Sustainable Engineering, we’re doing our best to lay out a path for this to happen …

First emissions reduction plan heading in right direction on buildings

The long-awaited first Emissions Reduction Plan was published yesterday and media commentators are rushing to dissect it. I liked that the foreword describes the problem as also an opportunity: “a challenge present[ing] the single greatest opportunity we’ve had in at least a generation … It means warmer homes and lower household power bills.” I have three initial observations, specifically on …

Great developments in NZ social housing

Kāinga Ora’s priorities for New Zealand social housing were laid out in a recent detailed article in Architecture Now, which is worth reading in full. It charts the agency’s journey toward building very high-performance homes, right up to Passive House standard, and slashing embodied carbon.  Sustainable Engineering has completed pre-construction (design stage) review and approval for Nga Kainga Anamata and …

Four tools for scaling up Passive House adoption: international review

This in-depth international review, The Keys to Successful Passive House Implementation, aimed to identify how to successfully implement Passive House construction at scale. The research was commissioned by the California Public Utilities Commission, which aims to apply these learnings in that state. The report developed a “Passive House Best Practices Toolkit” to increase the uptake of the Passive House standard …