How do we (“we” being those who care about high-performance buildings and all the benefits they deliver to people and the environment) bring about the change we want to see?
There are multiple pathways and we need to push ahead on all of them at once. One of course is government policy. One bright spot in 2020 was seeing my advice translated into new directions in climate and building policy.
Another is educating and inspiring architects and designers and informing them of the tools and training available to them, so they can specify better buildings.
Third, use carrots and sticks—whatever is needed—on developers so that new group homes perform better than the Code-minimum builds that so frequently disappoint. (What value is a marble benchtop when your clients’ kids have asthma because of the cold and damp?)
But there’s also the pathways of taking the message straight to the people. Passive Houses began to be built in New Zealand largely because a handful of motivated, educated homeowners went to architects and demanded function as well as form.
Five years down the track, we’re fortunate to have some journalists in the mainstream media that have taken the time to understand Passive House and how it works and what it offers. Colleen Hawkes at Stuff recently produced this thoughtful piece on changing trends that included Passive House in its survey. It’s just the latest in a string of stories she’s written. It’s great to see and shows how much has changed in five years: early media coverage of Passive House homes were riddled with errors and misunderstandings.