Better health is first result of H1 improvements

I appreciate the work Germán Molina is doing to get his PhD findings out into the world. I’ve linked to work he’s publishing on his blog, Buildings for People, before. A recent post argues the case for handing responsibility for the Building Code to the Ministry of Health. A novel idea. I’m not convinced but I agree with his evidence.  …

LEB projects in Christchurch, explained

It’s one thing to build bespoke higher-performing homes under contract for a client. It is quite another measure of risk to build spec homes that out-perform the Building Code minimums. There are currently two different developments in Christchurch, neither yet in construction, that are targeting LEB certification. Both are by Nest Residential. The first is a three-townhouse project in Addington …

A LEB is not a PH

It’s not correct to say a Low Energy Building (LEB) is a Passive House. Yes, it is a PHI standard. But to claim it is a Passive House, as a real estate agency’s media release did last month, is going too far. Yes, LEB is a building certification awarded by the Passive House Institute but it is confusing to conflate …

MBIE response (and ours) to NZ Emissions Reduction Plan

MBIE has summarised its take on the New Zealand Emissions Reduction Plan. Building for Climate Change (BfCC) will be its tool to make this happen through legislation. We will finally be stepping up to designing for thermal performance (eg operational carbon) and embodied carbon. At Sustainable Engineering, we’re doing our best to lay out a path for this to happen …

Great developments in NZ social housing

Kāinga Ora’s priorities for New Zealand social housing were laid out in a recent detailed article in Architecture Now, which is worth reading in full. It charts the agency’s journey toward building very high-performance homes, right up to Passive House standard, and slashing embodied carbon.  Sustainable Engineering has completed pre-construction (design stage) review and approval for Nga Kainga Anamata and …

Four tools for scaling up Passive House adoption: international review

This in-depth international review, The Keys to Successful Passive House Implementation, aimed to identify how to successfully implement Passive House construction at scale. The research was commissioned by the California Public Utilities Commission, which aims to apply these learnings in that state. The report developed a “Passive House Best Practices Toolkit” to increase the uptake of the Passive House standard …

How to decarbonise NZ schools

Clear, specific and timely actions to reduce schools’ operational and embodied carbon footprint are contained in a recent Ministry of Education (MoE) report, . The recommendations are excellent and they matter because the Ministry manages a huge real estate portfolio and is a major real estate developer: over 16,000 buildings used by over 790,000 students in 2100 state-owned schools/kura The …

What does NZ’s first deep retrofit teach us?

New Zealand’s first certified EnerPHit project began back in 2019. A very expensive and complex undertaking, it’s taken three years to complete. Sustainable Engineering’s Jason Quinn got involved not as the certifier but the Passive House designer—unwillingly at first, he says. But the owner impressed him with his commitment to going the whole way and fixing the problems at the …

Ngā Kāinga Anamata passes pre-construction review

Kāinga Ora’s ambitious research project, Ngā Kāinga Anamata, has cleared its first certification checkpoint: it has passed its pre-construction review. This is an extremely important milestone as it warrants that if built as designed, the project will meet the standard for certification.  Notably, Kāinga Ora’s specifications for on-site energy generation mean the buildings qualify for Passive House Plus certification. There …