Time for deep retrofits

MBIE’s Building for Climate Change programme is going to drive greater energy efficiency in new buildings. Among other things, it will introduce actual performance modeling for New Zealand buildings. This is a huge step forward. However, we also urgently need to improve our existing buildings. Let’s talk retrofits. Retrofit solutions to existing homes are needed. We need to improve insulation, …

Luggate Hall delayed

It’s a shame to hear about delays in construction to Luggate Hall but supply chain issues are a huge issue across the industry. Delays in shipping the Passive House certified windows from Europe were cited as the cause in a Queenstown Lakes District Council media release. This is going to be a great project: New Zealand’s first community building that …

Zero-energy building sector vital to addressing climate change

Buildings have a big role in addressing climate change. This nice and short technical paper shows how reducing consumption is the only way to address climate change that does not demand large negative carbon sinks. Diana Ürge-Vorsatz is one of the co-authors and the paper includes discussion about her concept of the “lock-in effect” that I have found so useful. …

Finally, NZ new homes are shrinking

Happy news in this thoughtful article from Stuff about why the average new dwelling is getting smaller in New Zealand. (How it’s getting smaller is obvious: smaller stand-alone homes but mostly it’s the growing numbers of townhouses and apartments that is lowering the average. I’d be interested to see the figure for stand-alone houses only.) It is of course section …

What’s it like? Passive House homeowners tell

Another in-depth article from the Stuff network about Passive House, that talks to people about their experience living in a (mostly certified) Passive House. It gets into the thorny cost premium issue too. I was especially pleased to see Sian Taylor’s project receive some more coverage. Shifting her young family from a typical Queenstown house (she reports ice on the …

Better school buildings get closer

Architect—and newly graduated PH designer—Murray Robertson wrote a really insightful piece about his experience designing a mass timber school building to the Passive House standard. Things were looking good: “We found for a typical mid-size school building that all that was required, apart from careful modelling and design, was better-performing windows, a relatively inexpensive airtightness layer, and a fresh air …

New thermal performance data for NZ timber window profiles

Consulting with building component manufacturers to help them make good products even better is a favourite activity for the Sustainable Engineering team. Lunds Joinery, a highly-regarded family-owned company in Timaru, approached us to do some window calculations for their standard timber profiles.  Lunds incorporated the fRSI calculations and Uf data into a new publication, the LJT Timber Window Guide, which …

Energy efficiency will improve

Today we have it: the new H1 has been released. I no longer need to keep it all secret and can finally talk about the new energy efficiency requirements. Note there is a year’s lag before these come into effect (“adjustment period”). Just get on with it, I say to the heel-draggers. As MBIE says, “the changes go as far …

Airtightness results in NZ PH builds keep improving

The Leith Valley Passive House in Dunedin is New Zealand’s newest certified Passive House Plus home and can boast of an extraordinary blower door test result: 0.17 air changes per house (ACH) as measured by the final blower door test.  Builder Wayne Dyet (WD Homes) is a competitive man with an amazing eye for detail and he’s determined to construct …