Great Passive House primer (includes eye candy and clear diagrams!)

This is a lovely summary of Passive House, written up as a Q&A with an American architect. There’s mention of an intriguing North American connection to the genesis of Passive House which you may not be aware of, some appealing images of various Passive Houses (I’m loving the Brussels home) plus some excellent diagrams illustrating the five basic principles. All …

Passive House (Passivhaus) Hospitals

Passive House Hospitals can have a 40-50% reduction in total energy use of the building, using efficient technologies already available, when compared to a conventional new hospital building. I’ve been encouraged by questions from various health boards and government here in NZ to provide information and connect them to the designers of the Passive House Hospital in Frankfurt (Passive House …

uPVC joinery worth another look

Clients (and their designers) who want high-performance buildings on a limited budget need to consider uPVC windows. Elsewhere, almost every Passive House on a budget will use uPVC joinery, typically white inside and out to maximise performance and minimise cost. Note though that uPVC windows are also available with an aluminium cladding on the exterior face to allow a choice …

Airtightness, explained (plus, see blower doors in action)

Check out these helpful instructional videos on airtightness and air leakage testing. Made in Australia, the general observations about lack of awareness of the importance of airtightness apply here too. This series of three short videos (less than seven minutes each) is produced by Efficiency Matrix, a supplier of products and testings for airtightness. The first video is absolutely worth …

Need more than just higher performance building code changes to decarbonize

“In buildings, it has become clear that there are two very distinct problems. One concerns new buildings — where, for example, advanced heat pump technology can allow for electrification of heating systems. The other, much bigger problem is how to cut emissions from existing buildings, which will account for most emissions from this sector. Here the actions are a blend …

Mouldy Schools Resource

Mouldy Schools Resource Some advice from health professionals and articles on damp mouldy schools. We are building scientists and are not health professionals or even public health researchers (we strongly recommend listening to those folks and enjoy learning at Public Health Summer School each year in Wellington). Advice for homes which is applicable to schools as well. Schools for Health show …

Yes – it’s a Passive House Plus Office Building

Crazy looking building: but under the iridescent facade is a standard form office building. Well, standard aside from the funky double concrete staircase. The architect’s website has some great photos. but the really interesting point is the performance … this is a Certified Passive House Plus. It’s listed as the largest certified project in France as at the time of …

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 …

Ireland releases new nearly-zero energy building regulations

Ireland has released its nearly-zero energy buildings regulations (to comply with EU requirements) and insulation supplier Xtratherm has published a guide for builders/designers. I’ve pulled together a table of the minimum performance values and calculated the R-values to help folks in NZ compare. These are average values and include thermal bridging from timber etc. Note that although the climate in …