Highlights from the 2024 Thrive Passivhaus Conference Jason Quinn shows up for New Zealand

30 May 2024 by Jason Quinn

The Thrive 2024 Passivhaus Conference in Melbourne last week was great—here are my highlights. It was well worth nipping across the ditch for two days. (Was I really the only person from New Zealand in attendance?) I estimate there were about 320 people there, plus those at the trade show, a big turnout.

Here were the top three sessions for me:

Change Our Minds: Ten Insights Toward A Passivhaus Model – Timothy Lock (USA) This really blew my mind a bit. The audacity of starting a wood fibre insulation plant and pairing it with a CLT offsite manufacturing facility and a design firm was a scale and breadth of ambition I hadn’t seen before. This outfit is based in Maine in eastern USA, a small state with about 1.3 million people. It shifted my ideas of what is possible…

Tackling challenges in Passivhaus construction – ideas from the UK – Julia Bennett. This really struck me. One of Julia’s core messages was that although the Certified Passive House Tradesperson Training was a good introduction for contractors, it really needs to include hands-on training. Dr Kara Rosemeier from PHANZ would agree: from the outset she included a practical component in the Passive House Tradesperson course she developed for New Zealand. As Sustainable Engineering Ltd is taking on the responsibility for this course in New Zealand I listened very closely. I wrote a whole other post about this topic!

Elevating Sustainability: Mass Timber Modular Construction and the Passivhaus Standard – Knut Menden I really enjoyed the concepts and seeing the repetition of CLT with external wood fibre insulation on multiple Australian projects and the learnings that arose from each project. I like both these things, and am stoked that wood fibre insulation is now being imported into New Zealand. It will be even better once it is manufactured here, it’s not like this country has a shortage of wood fibres!

I also really enjoyed listening to builders’ perspectives. The international Passive House Conference is quite academic and I’m so pleased that in Australia and (hopefully in New Zealand) we keep it real and keep builders involved. At one show of hands, I estimated about a third of the audience were builders.

An unexpected bonus was how many folks thanked me for the Sustainable Engineering monthly newsletter! Gratifying, because I don’t spend money on advertising: that budget all goes into developing professionally written content for the website, which we share for free via the newsletter.

Finally, I really enjoyed the whiskey bar in the basement of ANMF House. Talking building science and Passive House details with a cool crowd in a certified Passive House building was a hell of a great way to end my trip to Melbourne.

All photos © 2024 Sustainable Engineering Ltd.

Details of the programme are available here on the APHA website but I’ve also stashed the presentation titles and speakers here in case the APHA page disappears. 


Day One

8:45am: Welcome & Opening Remarks – APA Chair

9:00am: Change Our Minds: Ten Insights Toward A Passivhaus Model – Timothy Lock (USA)

10:00am: Passivhaus for Profit: A Case Study of ECHO Hawthorn – Kin Seng Choo

10:30am: Morning Tea

11:00am: PHPP as a Tool for Compliance – Alex Slater

11:25am: Project Costing and Risk in Passivhaus: Lessons Learnt – Alex Feng

11:50am: ALUPLAST Presentation – Ben Webster

12:10pm: Lunch

1:00pm: One Year In: How Australia’s First Passivhaus Hotel is Stacking up, Post-Occupancy Data – Paul O’Brien, Andy Bancroft & Nick Anderson

1:50pm: Mapping Passivhaus Developments in Australia: Lived experiences, perceptions and behaviours of Australian homeowners – Dr Matthew Francis

2:15pm: Rangehood Strategies and Indoor Air Quality Implications – Joel Seagren & Cameron Munro

3:05pm: Afternoon Tea

3:35pm – Tackling challenges in Passivhaus construction – ideas from the UK – Julia Bennett

4:10pm: Cultural Cognition, Misinformation, Audiences and Storytelling: How Communication Can Unlock Passivhaus – Kylie Mills

4:35pm: Beyond Passivhaus: Integrating Biophilic Design, a Huff’n’Puff Haus Case Study – Talina Edwards and Alex Slater

Day One Ends – THRIVING & JIVING Evening Event

Day Two

9:00am: Elevating Sustainability: Mass Timber Modular Construction and the Passivhaus Standard – Knut Menden

9:45am: Cowes Cultural and Community Centre (CCCC) Case Study – Lawrence Le

10:30am – Morning Tea

11:00am: Passivhaus Buildings and Respiratory Health Benefits Case Study – Merylese Mercieca

11:25am: Myth Busting: Passivhaus Gymnastics – Luke Middleton

11:50am: EnerPHit as a tool for decarbonisation – Sophie Weiner

12:10pm: Lunch

1:00pm: 15 Million Opportunities: EnerPHit as a Solution to Big Policy Issues – Linden Thorley

2:00pm: Considering Culture and Certification: A Pathway for Growth – Sven Maxa

2:25pm: Embedding Passivhaus in Planning Policy – Priya Gandhi

2:50pm: Trials and Tribulations of Becoming a Passivhaus Builder – Wade Bashaw

3:10pm: Afternoon tea

3:35pm: Hempcrete House – Hamish White

4:00pm: Sneak Peaks, Tips and Tricks from the Certifiers

4:55pm: Closing Speech/Vote of Thanks

Training Sessions

Day 1: 23rd May

9:30: The Passive House Standard and the Australia Building Code: how to get your windows to meet both

11:00am: Windows and Doors within the Passivhaus Building Envelope

Day 2: 24th May

9:30: Window system innovation in the PH industry

Site Tours

Saturday, May 25

ECHO Hawthorn Passivhaus Townhouses

Surrey Hills Passivhaus

Monash Woodside University


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