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 …

Passive House performance would fix the dry winter energy problem

The stumbling block to a fully renewable energy grid in New Zealand is what to do in a dry winter, when electrical demand peaks but there’s not enough water in the hydro dams. Last year it was touch-and-go and there was even talk of energy conservation being enforced. And that is with the big coal-burning Huntly power station still churning …

Health burden of cold damp houses costs millions every year

I’ve often wondered in the past exactly what percentage of New Zealand’s health burden is due to our damp and cold homes. Well I obviously didn’t look in the right place. PHINZ chair Elrond Burrell last month linked to a short 2011 study that provides the exact numbers I’ve been looking for. An article by Brad Prezant titled “Calculating the …

Lessons from failed UK retrofit programmes

This excellent top-level round-up of multiple UK retrofit programmes sadly reveals how many were really poorly done. The most recent was a politically driven voucher system that lasted less than a year. Bottom line? 1. Focus on the building thermal envelope and design stage overall energy model (ie take a holistic whole dwelling retrofit approach). 2. Ignoring the tricky bits …

Ireland nails affordable Passive House

They won’t win points for style, but these semi-detached, two-storey Irish homes fit seamlessly amongst their neighbours. This is a very familiar UK building style, now made better: both Passive House and affordable. The builder and architects’ depth of experience with Passive House was clearly key, according to an in-depth article by Passive House + magazine. The goal of affordability …

MBIE responds to climate change consultation

MBIE has provided its initial feedback based on consultation with industry on its “Building for climate change”. There are some promising signs from industry as the snapshot below indicates. We developed our own embodied carbon early design calculator based on the HPCD Handbook data. We also use LCAQuick from BRANZ for more detailed design-level studies. Based on this work, we …

Join US expert on marketing PH to homeowners

I’m looking forward to this seminar on how to effectively market Passive House and encourage those working on and designing Passive Houses to attend. This Zoom seminar is hosted by the Passive House Academy New Zealand on 29 June 2021 at 11am. It features John Oppermann, a US real estate agent (and executive director of the Earth Day Initiative), who …

More Passive House certifiers in NZ

Jason Quinn of Sustainable Engineering Ltd has been New Zealand’s sole Passive House certifier for five years but he’s no longer alone in the job. Toby Brooke and Sara Wareing were confirmed last Friday by PHI as accredited Passive House certifiers. Both work for Sustainable Engineering. Sara has a Masters degree in Building Science from Victoria University of Wellington, while …

Aus Passive House vs passive solar misses the point

If you haven’t heard about the Passive Solar versus Passive House bash up argument in Australia, you missed an entertaining example of people talking past each other. I am reminded of my long-running, friendly argument with a local passive solar enthusiast. In an excellent follow-up article, Dr Paola Leardini points out the starkly obvious: we need both climate sensitive design …