Haiku sums up warmer home benefits

Who the hell composes a haiku as the summary in a technical report to a government agency? A New Zealander, that’s who. I love this country. People’s ability to care and be serious—but also irreverent or playful, sometimes at the same time—is something I really appreciate. Winter through to spring Houses keep warm with heat pumps At no added cost. …

Elements of building industry lobbying to delay H1 changes

Like I’ve said before, if we want to change, we actually will need to change. Seems simple enough, right? But many in the “pro-cold-home” contingent of our building sector don’t want to change anything. Andrew Eagle from the NZ Green Building Council wrote a very terse essay for The Spinoff a couple of weeks ago. He was incensed that some …

BRANZ edition of HPCD out now

It’s great to finally pin a bow on this project and call it done. The final version of the HPCD (the High Performance Construction Details Handbook) has now been fully reviewed and accepted by BRANZ and published as External Research Report ER70 [2022]. It’s been a long journey—it began before we’d even heard of Covid-19. There were over 6300 downloads of …

Builder backlash to H1 upgrade begins

And, it’s begun: the backlash to the update to the energy efficiency requirements in New Zealand’s Building Code announced last November. It’s been a long time since the last upgrade. The message from submitters was overwhelmingly in favour of improving energy efficiency through higher-performance windows, more insulation, and moving on to whole building energy performance measures rather than simple R-value …

Be a certification pro

Passive House certification offers many benefits and the cost is tiny relative to the whole budget for a new home. As a Passive House designer, you can make the process faster, easier and contain costs for your client by being well-organised and diligent when it comes to the details required for certification. I’ve prepared a guide for documentation for new …

998 days to reach climate change reduction goals

The latest IPCC report emphasises that we have to peak our CO2 emissions by 2025 at the latest to reach 1.5 degrees global warming, to follow those rational paths that are still open.  From Newsroom’s analysis: “Achieving 1.5 degrees would mean emissions growth must not only slow from the 1.3 percent a year it averaged during the 2010s but completely …

Lazy overglazing is causing expensive problems

What is it with glass? Buildings in Australia and New Zealand tend to be over-glazed. Is it because huge windows look good in the renders and are a quick go-to for lazy architects?  Glazing is best used to frame views. Think of windows as picture frames, not an alternative material for a wall. Glazing needs to be designed with three …

Student skimp on food to pay rent on cold, mouldy flats

Radio New Zealand has really done an excellent job of summarising the plight of New Zealand university students—all in less than four minutes. Listen here, to hear how bad it actually is.  There’s an accompanying article if you prefer to read: “students talked of making compromises on food and other necessities, and that living in energy hardship hampered their health.” …

Think twice about that wood burner

I still surprise Passive House folk when I point out it’s better to use a heat pump than a wood burning fireplace for heating. It’s better for their clients’ health, their neighbours’ health and the planet. And yes, that is taking into account the carbon implications of the heat pump refrigerant.  The problem goes beyond the release of greenhouse gases …