It’s not rocket science: actually it’s harder

This great profile of Sustainable Engineering’s founding director delivers a nice intro to Passive House—while also telling the story of how a campervan trip around New Zealand saw a NASA rocket scientist emigrate here and embark on a big career change. Building science is actually more challenging than rocket science, reckons Jason Quinn. This profile was written by Mas, a …

Wellington worst place for damp, mouldy housing

If you missed this in-depth Stuff article, it’s worth reviewing: Infometrics senior economist Brad Olsen used the latest census data to find where in New Zealand, on average, has the most mouldy, damp houses with no heating. And the “winner” of this not-coveted title? Wellington. Mould impacts health and wellbeing. Myself, I know my asthma is definitely enhanced by it. …

Small improvements are not enough

Rochelle Ade’s doctoral research findings have had quite a bit of media attention in recent weeks. Not surprising, given her claim that Homestar ratings aren’t delivering what they claim (and that the rating tool may be breaching the Fair Trading Act). Effectively, Ade measured the temperature and relative humidity of 30 homes in Auckland: those built according to the current …

Green co-leader backs Passive House and co-housing

Great to see Tim Ross of Architype guiding James Shaw around the building site of the Dunedin co-housing project. When this project is completed next year, it will (if it meets the certification standard) jump us up to over 50 Certified Passive House dwellings in New Zealand. If we can use this template to guide our social housing design and …

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 …

Look back and celebrate: 8 years of PH in NZ

It’s eight years since the first New Zealand home was certified as a Passive House. That distinction went to the aptly named PH1NZ in Auckland. (Notable second was a more modest family home in Raglan.) It’s extraordinary to reflect on how far we’ve come in less than a decade, on multiple fronts: the profile of Passive House in particular and …

CLT passive house apartments blaze near-zero carbon path

I’m pleased to see a five-story Passive House apartment building planned for Boston, built from cross-laminated timber (CLT). In my opinion, the best way to reduce the embodied energy or carbon in buildings is to reduce concrete and steel—and increase the timber content. A CLT structure does all three at the same time. Added bonus: it speeds construction and removes …

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 …