Passive House happy hour: Fast, factual, fun

Don’t already know about this? You’ve got some fun and learning to catch up on. This weekly gig is in its sixth month now, bringing Passive House experts together from around the globe. Most of the presentations are fairly technical and get into the details us Passive House geeks love. The live calls happen at 11 am each Thursday, which …

Affordable housing that works

Todd Rothstein’s recent Global Passive House Happy Hour presentation* focused on the economics of Passive House construction rather than the more usual technical details. Todd’s goal is to build affordable housing for folks living in Maine in the United States. (Maine is the north-east corner of the United States, enjoying temperatures of -25C in the winter and 35C in the …

Mechnical ventilation is a no-brainer

Fresh air is good for people but also the buildings   I grumble about BRANZ, but the scientists working there are good people trying to fix problems with how we build. Unfortunately they are hamstrung by needing to do that while not changing how we build. That’s pretty much impossible. How about instead we just fix the Building Code? Proper …

Cheaper. Better. Just do it.

Sydney’s first PH built for less than an equivalent Code house A fantastic report on the cost premium for building a Passive House has been released by Sydney architect Andy Marlow. This is an important piece of research and I urge you to download and read it. Every Passive House professional hears the question, “But how much more will it …

Heat pumps a great choice for high-performance homes

Heat pumps are suitable for every climate zone in New Zealand, even the coldest, and they are the most efficient source of heating and cooling. Don’t buy crappy ones. New labelling makes it easier to compare models. We always recommend heat pumps in our building designs or other projects we consult on. For single family homes, it’s usually just one …

RNZ Explores Barriers to Passive House

RNZ presenter Kathryn Ryan asked some very good questions in a recent interview about whether all new social housing in New Zealand should be built to the Passive House standard. Here are some clear answers. Q. What is involved in getting Passive House certification? A building gets certified as a Passive House if it meets specific performance targets. It can …

Even a ‘green grid’ has a carbon cost

We can’t solar panel our way out of climate change: energy demand must fall as well. And especially in the winter, when less solar energy is available! This alone is reason to construct energy-efficient buildings that need little energy for heating, and retro-fit those already built. NZ grid emissions, predicted to 2050 Our grid’s carbon emissions are expected to drop, …

Barriers to Passive House and how to solve them

RNZ presenter Kathryn Ryan asked some very good questions in a recent interview about whether all new social housing in New Zealand should be built to the Passive House standard. Here are some clear answers. Q. What is involved in getting Passive House certification? A building gets certified as a Passive House if it meets specific performance targets. It can …

Cooking with gas is like idling a car in your kitchen

This story about the American Gas Association promoting gas cooking via Instagram influencers makes me cringe. “Every time you ignite a gas stove, you’re filling your home with many of the same pollutants in exhaust from cars—carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, particulate matter, and formaldehyde, which are all associated with a range of chronic health problems like respiratory problems and cardiovascular …