998 days to reach climate change reduction goals

The latest IPCC report emphasises that we have to peak our CO2 emissions by 2025 at the latest to reach 1.5 degrees global warming, to follow those rational paths that are still open.  From Newsroom’s analysis: “Achieving 1.5 degrees would mean emissions growth must not only slow from the 1.3 percent a year it averaged during the 2010s but completely …

Student skimp on food to pay rent on cold, mouldy flats

Radio New Zealand has really done an excellent job of summarising the plight of New Zealand university students—all in less than four minutes. Listen here, to hear how bad it actually is.  There’s an accompanying article if you prefer to read: “students talked of making compromises on food and other necessities, and that living in energy hardship hampered their health.” …

Think twice about that wood burner

I still surprise Passive House folk when I point out it’s better to use a heat pump than a wood burning fireplace for heating. It’s better for their clients’ health, their neighbours’ health and the planet. And yes, that is taking into account the carbon implications of the heat pump refrigerant.  The problem goes beyond the release of greenhouse gases …

Cold bedrooms make people sick

I know folks who still argue for not heating bedrooms. They love kids but just refuse to believe the research. Cold bedrooms make kids more likely to be sick with respiratory illnesses, which then make it more likely they’ll develop asthma. We all know by now that New Zealand is a world leader in childhood asthma rates: not a league …

Passive House for my mom

Awesome to see Architecture New Zealand linking to this great video primer on Passive House from Dave Borlace, who publishes a channel on climate and sustainable energy on You Tube. I’m sending this one to my mom.  

First Bushland Park homes certified, go up for auction

The certification of 8 and 10 Bushland Place is a milestone the entire Passive House community in New Zealand should celebrate. These are the first certified Passive House homes to be built for sale* and are the beginning of an entire neighbourhood of certified homes planned for Bushland Park in Halswell, Christchurch. The two homes have achieved Passive House Plus …

UK progress on Passive House

The UK is way ahead of New Zealand in terms of numbers of certified Passive House buildings so it’s certainly instructive to see what we can learn. A recent article in the Guardian provided a very well written summary of Passive House benefits. Jon Bootland, the chief executive of the Passivhaus Trust, is quoted as saying there are 7000 Passive …

Passive House social housing transformative for NYC tenants

Passive House social housing in New York City is taking off, according to this Guardian feature story. Two things stand out: the extent of the uptake (dozens of affordable Passive House developments are currently underway throughout the city) and the way developers and occupants are describing the benefits. It’s great language I will remember when I’m describing the “why” of …

Evaluating embodied carbon of solar panels

Elementa Consulting has released a very easy to follow report on a very complex topic: how good are PV panels and what matters when you consider their embodied carbon? The report is well worth reading. To me the two most important charts are Figure 1 (above), which shows that although PV panels start with a high embodied carbon, as they …