Home Style Green - Sustainable Design and Building (general)

Last week I had the priviledge to attend some of the sessions at the Green Property Summit, jointly hosted by NZGBC and the Property Council. 

A highlight for me was Wade Lange, Director of the Lloyd Ecodistrict in Portland, Oregon. 

Later in the week, while in Christchurch, I attended a great lecture by Associate Professor Susan Krumdeik. Aside from being fun to go back to my old University at Canterbury, this was an inspiring lecture, with some great similarities to the vision that has now become a reality in Portland.

The main event in Christchurch was of course, the rebuld and renovate show. This week I report on my interview with Lifemark and Metro Glasstech.


Monique Alfris and her team sell solar powered lights to people in India. She does this through an organisation called Pollinate Energy, which Monique co-founded in 2012. 

I was inspired by Monique's story after hearing her presentation at the recent Green Cities conference in Sydney, Australia. I really wanted to ask Monique about why Pollinate Energy was created and to see what learning might be applied to housing in Australia and New Zealand.

Also in this week's show:

Big shout out to JMore36. Thanks very much for your iTunes review! Love it.

Matthew Cutler-Welsh

comments@homestylegreen.com

Direct download: 24_Pollinate_Energy_-_Monique_Alfris.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:39pm +12

Sian Taylor trained to be an architect in Cardiff, Wales. When she arrived here in New Zealand, like many others who have experienced homes in colder climates,  Sian was pretty appalled at the state of New Zealand houses.

Since then Sian has gained experience working in prestigious firms such as Warren and Mahoney Architects and joined Queenstown firm, Green Being in March 2012. Sian has been heavily involved in a number of Passive House projects in and around Queenstown.

Demand for high performing homes has grown rapidly and now Sian and her own team of dedicated architects have formed the specialist practice, Team Green Architects. 

At the time of publishing, Team Green is still awaiting their website, but you can find Sian through Green Being. http://greenbeing.co.nz/2013/03/architecture-spreads-its-wings/

In this interview, Sian discusses, among other things, how it's easy to justify spending a bit more up front, on the things that really matter. In some cases, houses they design in Queenstown may require only as little as 10% of the heating cost of a regular (code compliant) house of the same size. This adds up to huge electricity savings right from year 1 of living in the home. 

A couple of references from Sian include:

  • The Lorax, by Dr Zeuss, Click here for Amazon link.
  • Ishmael, by Daniel Quinn, Click here for Amazon link.
Direct download: 23_Sian_Taylor_-_Being_a_Green_Architect.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:26pm +12

21 Upcoming Events Red Tape and the Value of Being Green

I'm a sustainable homes expert and I want to create healthy, efficient homes that don't cost the Earth.

This week, I answer a couple of listener questions about the cost effectiveness and red tape associated with building green. 

Following up on last week, I also discuss if concrete slab edge insulation is important in a hot climate for keeping cool.

Upcoming events mentioned in the show:

You can find me at:

Thanks to James Schramko over at Superfastbusiness.com for recommending Auphonic. I've tried it out this week with this episode. Can you tell the difference?

Direct download: 21_Upcoming_Events_Red_Tape_and_the_Value_of_Being_Green.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:36pm +12

Ingo Ratsdorf is a registered architect with Babbage Consultants based in Auckland. 

Having grown up and been trained in Germany, Ingo is very aware of how poorly most New Zealand homes stack up against international standards. 

When Ingo and his family were hunting for their dream renovation project, they were continually overwhelmed with the size of the job they saw. It seemed each house they looked at would need far too much work to bring up to a level of quality and comfort that would satisfy them. 

And so it was that they ultimately realised they would have to build from scratch.

Listen in to our conversation as Ingo explains the inspiration and challenges of building and completing (almost) their dream in Riverhead.

He shares some sound advice for anyone looking at start a building project. 

This podcast is best accompanied by a great slideshow of the build available here on slideshare:

http://www.slideshare.net/IngoRatsdorf/riverhead-passive-solar-design-house

I hope this finished product will be an inspiration for your project!

The inspiring  book Ingo referred to and which I also highly recommend for anyone interested in design, 'Cradle to Cradle' can be found here: http://amzn.to/VVbBBr

Direct download: 19_Riverhead_passive_solar_design_house.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:42pm +12

Eion Scott is an Eco Design Advisor with the Auckland Council. Eco Design Advisors around the country offer free, in home, independent advice on how to improve the warmth, health and comfort of your home. 

For more information go to the Eco Design Advisor website. 

Direct download: 15_Who_do_you_call_for_free_eco_advice.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:24pm +12

I was lucky enough to first meet Carlin Archer in Chrstchurch a few years ago.

Carlin was interested in building an 'ecohome', but didn't know the first thing about building houses. He did know a lot about building websites thought. So he and his brother sat down and reated Ecobob.co.nz

Direct download: 10_Carlin_Archer_Ecobob.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:49pm +12

After insulation, heating is the next thing most people look at when improving the comfort and warmth of their home. 

In this episode of Home Style Green, I discuss room heaters:

  • Standared electric heating: electric fan heaters, bar radiators, oil column, wall panel etc
  • Gas unflued heating: And why you should never use it!
  • Flued gas heating
  • Heat pumps or reverse cycle air conditioning

In the episode I refer to the 'carnot cycle'. This is the awesome thermodynamic principle behind air conditioning and refrigeration. Refer again to our trusty Wikipedia for a good article about the detailed physics:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carnot_cycle

Of course the best form of heating is free from the sun. But making the most of passive solar heating is a design challenge and there's usually not a lot that can be done to improve this once a house is built.

So if you're trying to heat an existing, cold home, what's the best option?

Direct download: 004_HSG_Heating.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:21am +12

In part 2 of this insulation introduction, I discuss the main types of insulation used for ceilings, floors and wall. 

For more information about insulation materials, check out Level.org.nz from BRANZ:

http://www.level.org.nz/fileadmin/downloads/Materials/LevelMInsul.pdf

For more on the properties of wool, including great microscopic imagery, check out:

http://www.biotechlearn.org.nz/focus_stories/wool_innovations/wool_fibre_properties

and

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wool_insulation

Direct download: 003_Home_Style_Green.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:55pm +12

In this episode of Home Style Green, I discuss the basic physics of insualation. I give an overview of the three main types of heat transfer, that is conduction, convection and radiation. Most bulk insulation products on the market rely almost entirely on reducing conduction. 

I discuss what 'R-Value' means and the common materials of household insulation products. 

For more information, visit our site at: 

http://www.homestylegreen.com

Also, for a more indepth discussion on insulation and 'R-Values', its hard to go past Wikipedia:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R-value_(insulation)

Direct download: 002_Home_Style_Green_2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:45pm +12