Why Passive House costs more

If you’ve met Christchurch Passive House builder Peter Bielski, you’ll know he’s a man of few and well-chosen words, not minced. His company is involved in an ambitious project to create a new sub-division of certified Passive House Plus homes. In a recent blog post, he tackles the question of cost premiums for Passive House performance. He’s quite right: when …

What’s it like? Passive House homeowners tell

Another in-depth article from the Stuff network about Passive House, that talks to people about their experience living in a (mostly certified) Passive House. It gets into the thorny cost premium issue too. I was especially pleased to see Sian Taylor’s project receive some more coverage. Shifting her young family from a typical Queenstown house (she reports ice on the …

Healthy Homes Standard tweaked

A December 3 announcement on changes to the Healthy Homes Standard solves one of the issues caused by this well intentioned legislation. We were designing absolutely best practice apartments, which wouldn’t meet the HHS extract requirements for ventilation. I discussed this with HUD several times and I can vouch that their people wanted to encourage this best practice—but they were …

Better school buildings get closer

Architect—and newly graduated PH designer—Murray Robertson wrote a really insightful piece about his experience designing a mass timber school building to the Passive House standard. Things were looking good: “We found for a typical mid-size school building that all that was required, apart from careful modelling and design, was better-performing windows, a relatively inexpensive airtightness layer, and a fresh air …

New thermal performance data for NZ timber window profiles

Consulting with building component manufacturers to help them make good products even better is a favourite activity for the Sustainable Engineering team. Lunds Joinery, a highly-regarded family-owned company in Timaru, approached us to do some window calculations for their standard timber profiles.  Lunds incorporated the fRSI calculations and Uf data into a new publication, the LJT Timber Window Guide, which …

Loopholes in H1 changes?

To be clear folks: H1/AS1 housing changes apply to all housing, even huge retirement communities and apartment buildings of any size. BPI (Building Performance Index) is no longer a permitted compliance method. Curtain walls are included in the R-value requirements (no change) per either H1/AS1 or H1/AS2—but need to be calculated by ISO12631. Lots of folks seem to be focused …

NZ “outsulation” guide now available

Now available: the Outsulation Guide for High Performance Walls, brought to you by Outright, suppliers of continuous insulation. Sustainable Engineering provided the thermal modelling calculations and I enjoyed the discussions we’ve had about applications. This guide focuses on external insulation (“outsulation”, get it?) of walls with a focus on residential applications. Download a free copy here. I’ve been asked to …

Energy efficiency will improve

Today we have it: the new H1 has been released. I no longer need to keep it all secret and can finally talk about the new energy efficiency requirements. Note there is a year’s lag before these come into effect (“adjustment period”). Just get on with it, I say to the heel-draggers. As MBIE says, “the changes go as far …

Airtightness results in NZ PH builds keep improving

The Leith Valley Passive House in Dunedin is New Zealand’s newest certified Passive House Plus home and can boast of an extraordinary blower door test result: 0.17 air changes per house (ACH) as measured by the final blower door test.  Builder Wayne Dyet (WD Homes) is a competitive man with an amazing eye for detail and he’s determined to construct …