Wildfires also kill people through fine particulate pollution

This paper on PM2.5 pollution caused by wildfires estimates the number of Americans killed by wildfires—not the fire itself but the fine particulate pollution in the smoky air. It has implications for New Zealanders and it’s worrying. “We estimate a total of 52,480 to 55,710 premature deaths are attributable to wildland fire PM2.5 over the 11-year period with respect to …

Streamlining Passive House design

There’s some anticipation about the release of easyPH, understandable given its promise to make Passive House design easier. Here’s some advice for new designers about how to streamline and simplify Passive House design, some of which is applicable to either PHPP or easyPH. Firstly, make sure you’re familiar with the subset of projects that can be designed using easyPH. This …

When must windows be open in your Passive House?

As any Passive House homeowner knows, you can open your windows and doors whenever you want. The mechanical ventilation is delivering fresh, filtered, pre-warmed (or cooled) air 24/7 which means opening windows is not required for indoor air quality (IAQ). Not that New Zealanders are very good at that anyway. But there are two specific circumstances in which it’s important …

easyPH tool aims to simplify Passive House design

A new tool for Passive House designers aims to simplify the entry of data into the Passive House Planning Package (PHPP) software. Called easyPH, the beta version is bundled with PHPP 10.6. If coupled with modelling in designPH, easyPH will save a lot of time and should reduce stress for new Passive House designers, particularly if you review and follow …

Making certified Passive House tradesperson training even better

Ideas on how to make certified Passive House tradespersons training even better: that’s one of the things I took away from the THRIVE 2024 Passivhaus Conference in Melbourne. UK architect Julia Bennett gave a presentation called “Tackling Challenges in Passivhaus construction: Notes from the UK” and given Sustainable Engineering Ltd delivers training to the Passive House community in New Zealand, …

Highlights from the 2024 Thrive Passivhaus Conference

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 …

Earthbuilding Standards x3 out for consultation

Three revised New Zealand Earthbuilding Standards are out for public comment. This is a great opportunity—very time limited—to review the content of the draft standards without having to purchase them. These are only available until 26 May 2024. Download the files here. There is general background on the Earth Building Association of New Zealand (EBANZ)’s website, available here. These standards …

NZGBC lays out emissions reductions through better buildings

NZ Green Building Council’s latest report is well worth reading. In my view, the policy changes it recommends are easy (we could do more). Buildings are capable of delivering about a third of the carbon emission reduction that New Zealand is required to do—the government signed agreements and those commitments are now part of our trade agreements. If we choose …

Three steps to mitigate condensation risk in wall assemblies

Significant changes are proposed to minimum Code requirements for commercial buildings in Australia and I’ve been particularly interested in measures to mitigate condensation risk in walls. It’s important New Zealand Passive House designers and architects focus on those measures aimed at the parts of Australia with heating-dominated climates similar to ours. The report findings are worth reading, but here’s a …