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 …

New NZ homes emitting 5x more carbon than <2 deg budget allows

This first study of its kind in New Zealand attempts to calculate how much carbon new homes can emit if we are to stay within the 2 degrees warming limit set by the Paris Agreement—and how much carbon our new builds are actually using. The outcome? Our typical built-to-Code new builds spew out five times more carbon than their fair …

Every house a Certified Passive House by 2030

There are about 30,000 new houses a year currently built in New Zealand. In a decade, could they all be certified Passive House? I think it can be done but the biggest barrier won’t be money, construction materials or staff availability. It will be training. Building a Certified Passive House is hard—the first time. Then once you’ve done a few, …

Carbon-positive landscapes too

The basic idea? The chosen materials and landscape components sequester carbon to balance out the carbon it took to create it, all within five to 20 years. (Five for greener projects like parks, gardens, campuses and mixed-use developments, with up to 20 years for more urban projects.) The important new development is that they’ve run the numbers: it is possible …