Coromandel Passive House: small, off-grid and tracking for Premium designation Definitely one to watch

20 September 2022 by Rachel Rose

The North Island is finally on track to have its first Passive House Premium home. Steven Hughes’ small but perfectly formed house in the Coromandel Peninsula has passed pre-construction review. That’s the first and most important hurdle to clear for certification. The Sustainable Engineering certifiers have reviewed all the documentation and analysis and have given an independent assurance that if constructed according to the design, the building will meet the targeted Passive House standard.

Photo: Steven Hughes

This project will be only the second Passive House Premium building in all of New Zealand (the first is Holmes House). It is also notable for being off-grid. 

What does the Premium designation mean? In addition to all the usual requirements being met, such a building generates enough renewable energy to reach honest net zero for all the energy uses of the occupant. That means not just the energy used by the house (including storage losses, charging electric vehicles etc) but their share of society’s use of energy for everything else that keeps our lives working.

Sustainable Engineering principal Jason Quinn describes it as renewable energy generation at a level that makes a fully renewable energy grid work for everyone.

While acknowledging the great result of tracking for Premium certification, Jason says he is even more impressed that such a small building has met the Passive House standard. The house has a TFA of just 52m2 and will be home to a family of four. “The small size is offset by the higher internal gains in PHPP9.6,” Jason notes. “That sorts out most of the small building penalty, which was perhaps a bit too conservative.”

Follow Steven’s firm, Build Good Architecture on LinkedIn for more news of the project as it progresses. You can also view a walkthrough and interview with Steven in this short video.

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