DefignTalks podcast talks operational energy First episode features SELtd’s Jason Quinn

12 March 2024 by Rachel Rose

The first episode of a new podcast for architectural designers launched this week, and its first guest is Sustainable Engineering Ltd’s principal Jason Quinn.

Hosts Glenn Murdoch and Casey Curtis kick off by considering operational energy (really, operational carbon) and ask, how big is the problem? As we design more durable buildings, does the balance between operational and embodied energy (and emissions) need to change? Jason didn’t mince words, as usual.

Jason mentioned the Shotover House as one of his favourite Passive House builds—a very simple and efficient thermal envelope is made far more visually complex and interesting by the use of a rain screen that creates additional corners. The official SELtd case study is here. You can also see larger photos on the architect’s website: the illusion of complexity created by the facade details really is remarkable. The show hosts were very quick to grasp the implications of this example: that architects and designers can create efficient (and cost-efficient) rectangular thermal envelopes, and then add external design elements to create additional functionality and compelling aesthetic values.

Here are links to some of the resources he mentioned.

Passive House Primer

This is a resource for designers and architects approaching their first Passive House project. It’s a free downloadable PDF; clear, concise and exceedingly useful.

Passive House for New Zealand: The warm healthy homes we need

Jason’s first book was an introduction to the Passive House building standard for homeowners, design and construction professionals and policy makers. He quantified the problem of New Zealand’s sub-par buildings and made a compelling case for the relevance and benefits of adopting the Passive House standard. Book includes case studies of all certified projects as at date of publishing. It’s available as a free download or read it on the web.

Case study library—New Zealand certified Passive House projects

All projects certified or designed by the Sustainable Engineering Ltd team are profiled here, as a full case study or briefer profile. Check out drawings, photographs of the construction process, construction details and materials, performance values and the team involved.

I was impressed by the hosts’ good questions and quick uptake. It bodes well for future episodes. DefignTalks is delivered by Architectural Designers NZ and is available on Spotify, with new episodes released each second Friday.


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