We won’t get to zero carbon without energy efficient homes

It’s great to see this piece in popular media, outlining research that shows that, like the rest of the world, New Zealand’s path to a zero carbon future requires homes that need nearly no power for winter heating. The Passive House standard is measured and verified in New Zealand as needing 90% less energy to heat both new homes and …

Kāinga Ora will drive Passive House uptake across the whole building sector

Kāinga Ora’s announcement of its first Passive House pilot project, the 18-unit Bader Ventura apartment building in Mangere, Auckland, is receiving a lot of attention with stories running across national media*.  Jason Quinn believes this project will provide world leading social housing quality. But he says the more significant achievement is Kāinga Ora’s carbon continuum commitment, which lays out the …

Airtight building resources

Here’s an excellent resource on planning, training, mocking-up and doing QA on an airtight building project. It’s very graphical and has great links to even more resources.  There’s video as well for those who like moving pictures. Haven’t heard of ZEBx? No surprises, it comes out of Vancouver, that northern beacon of best practice for zero-emission and high-performance building. In …

Homestar V5 a huge improvement

The just-released Homestar V5 tool is going to lift the performance of homes using the NZ Green Building Council (NZGBC) rating system because the PHPP software is now the engine under the hood. We’re super-excited, just as you’d expect from building science geeks! We’re also a bit proud, because the Sustainable Engineering team was involved in developing the improved tool. …

‘Worlds Apart’ graphic depicts future pathways

I spend most of my waking hours focused on improving the performance of the buildings: for the sake of the humans who live, work and play within them and for the future of the planet they stand on. It wasn’t easy walking through this with my son this morning, but it felt important. And a way to explain why I …

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 …