Easier ways to gather data to predict mould growth

Modelling mould growth in domestic environments using relative humidity and temperature is a useful technical paper, as it seeks to modify the VTT model of mould growth on surfaces to make it easier to use in built homes. The research also suggested the existing VTT model underestimates the risk of mould in domestic settings.  The authors surveyed a large number …

Bader Ventura is a certified Passive House project

Oddly, this write-up about Kainga Ora’s Bader Ventura project doesn’t make it explicit that the building did achieve Passive House certification. You can read a detailed case study by Sustainable Engineering here—our team certified this project and provided lots of technical support. The result is all the more impressive because Passive House performance wasn’t a focus from the very beginning …

Glazing percentage: handy rule of thumb to prevent overheating

Prevent overheating by keeping the window area to 20% of the floor area. That’s a very old passive solar rule-of-thumb from New England (Eastern USA) where I grew up.  So I was interested to discover that Mark Siddall has researched this same metric for homes in the UK and found it holds true there. He details this in a brief …

Ngā Kāinga Anamata passes pre-construction review

Update 16May2024 We want folks to know that Kainga Ora has regretfully informed us that they are now in the process of officially closing the R&D component of the project as the investment is no longer commercially viable. They are removing their pages from their website and links to this will no longer work. Kāinga Ora’s ambitious research project, Ngā …

Passivhaus In Australia book now available

If you haven’t yet downloaded and read the excellent book produced by APHA, Passivhaus in Australia, I highly recommend it. Although New Zealand had a head start over Australia on Passive House design and construction, the Aussies have now clearly surged to the lead with their large complex projects. School classrooms, student accommodation and a high-end apartment building have all …

Affordable housing that works

Todd Rothstein’s recent Global Passive House Happy Hour presentation* focused on the economics of Passive House construction rather than the more usual technical details. Todd’s goal is to build affordable housing for folks living in Maine in the United States. (Maine is the north-east corner of the United States, enjoying temperatures of -25C in the winter and 35C in the …

Fixing problem buildings needs structural change

Like always, Otago University’s Public Health Summer School this month was galvanising. Creating better housing in order to produce a triple benefit—improved energy efficiency, reduced carbon emissions and better health—was the theme this year. The questions are huge, the stakes are critically high and the solutions are various but all complex. I also watched a government official get blindsided by …

NZ entries for the 2020 Passive House Award?

New Zealand window manufacturers took out two of the window awards at the PHI conference in China last year. Several years ago PH1NZ nearly won first place in the residential architecture awards. Time for a New Zealand architecture firm to step up and win first place. I can think of several certified homes in NZ that I’d pick. Certified Passive House …

About time: Damn right, mechanical ventilation is appropriate in all new buildings

Why am I sounding overjoyed at this simple text from BRANZ? The backstory goes a long way back.   In its <December 2019 Guideline https://www.branz.co.nz/guideline>, the front story is about smart vapour retarders (SVR) and how they lower the risk of mould in New Zealand wall assemblies. (There’s a story about that too, but that’s for another time.) The big …