Breaking news: Warmer, healthier homes are worth more

This recent Stuff story was a pretty well-considered look at whether improvements in thermal performance influence sale prices. I’ve covered this ground before, in my book and in this blog post, looking at whether Passive House certification will increase a building’s value. There’s still no rigorous data for New Zealand and so we use as a proxy the data from …

Leadership needed in NZ educational sector

New Zealand got underway with Passive House before our Aussie mates but sadly we’ve been thoroughly surpassed in the last couple of years. We have no Passive House projects to rival the scale and ambition of Monash University’s Woodside Building for Technology and Design. The striking five-storey building is a “living lab” for IT and engineering students and researchers, deliberately …

NZIA adds weight to call for better Building Code

In this high-profile recent opinion piece, Marcus Hogan (professional practice director at Te Kāhui Whaihanga New Zealand Institute of Architects), points out that even new homes built to meet the Building Code in New Zealand are not good enough. He writes, “The government knew, more than 80 years ago, that there was mould in the ceilings and walls of over …

The take-back effect

Folks are illogical. Including me. I think a fizzy drink should cost about $1 and don’t want to pay more—but $5 for a coffee is alright. Weird. Well it turns out we do the same sort of allocation of money even when we can (or can’t) afford to spend more. An excellent example is that folks spend what they think …

Energy-efficient builds increase sales price: Aus study

I’m often asked for data on the price premium a certified Passive House would command compared to the same house built to the legal minimum requirements of the New Zealand Building Code. It’s hard to know as the numbers are so small and Passive House homes so rarely come onto the market. So far they have been rarely built with …

Passive House performance would fix the dry winter energy problem

The stumbling block to a fully renewable energy grid in New Zealand is what to do in a dry winter, when electrical demand peaks but there’s not enough water in the hydro dams. Last year it was touch-and-go and there was even talk of energy conservation being enforced. And that is with the big coal-burning Huntly power station still churning …

Passive House Climate Files for NZ

As of 13 December 2017 there are six additional PHI certified climate files for NZ. These now cover all of NZ including the Chatham Islands. It is important to note these are all (excluding the Chathams file) based on work done by NIWA to develop regional files for NZ and this last set of climate certification work done by PHI …

Health burden of cold damp houses costs millions every year

I’ve often wondered in the past exactly what percentage of New Zealand’s health burden is due to our damp and cold homes. Well I obviously didn’t look in the right place. PHINZ chair Elrond Burrell last month linked to a short 2011 study that provides the exact numbers I’ve been looking for. An article by Brad Prezant titled “Calculating the …

Lessons from failed UK retrofit programmes

This excellent top-level round-up of multiple UK retrofit programmes sadly reveals how many were really poorly done. The most recent was a politically driven voucher system that lasted less than a year. Bottom line? 1. Focus on the building thermal envelope and design stage overall energy model (ie take a holistic whole dwelling retrofit approach). 2. Ignoring the tricky bits …