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 …

Cold bedrooms make people sick

I know folks who still argue for not heating bedrooms. They love kids but just refuse to believe the research. Cold bedrooms make kids more likely to be sick with respiratory illnesses, which then make it more likely they’ll develop asthma. We all know by now that New Zealand is a world leader in childhood asthma rates: not a league …

Passive House for my mom

Awesome to see Architecture New Zealand linking to this great video primer on Passive House from Dave Borlace, who publishes a channel on climate and sustainable energy on You Tube. I’m sending this one to my mom.  

First Bushland Park homes certified, go up for auction

The certification of 8 and 10 Bushland Place is a milestone the entire Passive House community in New Zealand should celebrate. These are the first certified Passive House homes to be built for sale* and are the beginning of an entire neighbourhood of certified homes planned for Bushland Park in Halswell, Christchurch. The two homes have achieved Passive House Plus …