BRANZ sees the light on mechanical ventilation

Holy sh*t. Talk about a big shift in perspective. Let’s repeat that: “BRANZ now recommends that residential buildings are mechanically ventilated and are built to an airtightness target.” This comes from an article in the Oct 2020 edition of Build magazine, available online. In it, Senior Building Performance Engineer Greg Overton says “the measurements [from their latest research] sit alongside …

Technical guidance for Formance SIP in Passive House projects

SIP manufacturer Formance has released a technical bulletin for designers focused on how to specify or calculate Formance panel performance for certified Passive House projects. The bulletin is based on a report by Sustainable Engineering. The values provided on the Formance website (for an overall wall assembly with air surface film resistance and cavities) can’t be directly entered into PHPP. …

Green co-leader backs Passive House and co-housing

Great to see Tim Ross of Architype guiding James Shaw around the building site of the Dunedin co-housing project. When this project is completed next year, it will (if it meets the certification standard) jump us up to over 50 Certified Passive House dwellings in New Zealand. If we can use this template to guide our social housing design and …

Understanding DataTables and Variants

Tech Tips with Toby Variants is a handy tool when using PHPP to model multiple design options within the one PHPP file. Suppose you’re trying different window frames, glazing or types of insulation: the variants tab is the place to do it. The Excel tool behind how that sheet works is called DataTables. To understand how the variants sheet works, …

Focus on performance not just appearance in the Christchurch rebuild

Christchurch City Council’s urban design team has turned in a report that looked at 46 housing developments built since new rules were introduced in 2016 to allow for greater housing density in that city. I had a complicated reaction when I read Christchurch mayor Lianne Dalziel’s quote, “…nothing is going to excite me about a blank wall or a high …

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 …