Home Style Green - Sustainable Design and Building

Home Style Green is here to help people build homes that are good for people and good for the planet.

In episode 30, I spoke with Elrond Burrell and asked if Passive House was really relevant to New Zealand. This sparked some great debate and I subsequently caught up with New Zealand based Passive House designer, Jon Iliffe of eHaus.

eHaus is New Zealand's first building company solely dedicated to building homes to the Passive House Standards.

Among other things, Jon discusses:

  1. How Germany is managing to decrease energy consumption while growing their GDP. 
  2. What was good about 1920s houses and are they still good?
  3. How can you justify the cost of building better?

Related Posts:

References:

Direct download: 34_eHaus_the_NZ_Passive_House_experts_with_Jon_Iliffe.mp3
Category:Passivhaus -- posted at: 11:00pm +13

What would you do if you had 6 months to go away and study whatever you wanted? 

Phil McLean is a secondary school teacher who's passionate about design. He was given the challenge to go and find a topic that would put in the shoes of a beginner learner. 

The result is a fresh perspective on solutions for our building industry. Phil's made his outputs freely available, including a Google Map of the most innovative houses in New Zealand, plus a SketchUp model of his 'Stretch and Grow' concept. 

Links:

Other Resources:

Direct download: 33_The_Stretch_and_Grow_House_-_Phil_Mclean.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:11pm +13

Prefab, (short for prefabrication), offers significant advantages to buidling. House can be:

  • Higher quality, with improved finishing and attention to detail without deterioration from being exposed to the elements
  • Produced quickly, being assembled in a matter of days or even hours
  • Very resource efficient, producing little construction waste (a big environmental problem for the sector)
  • Affordable!

So why are we not doing more of it? 

Bell has lead PrefabNZ since it was conceived and then incorporated directly as a result of her research as part of a Masters in Architecture. She's arguably New Zealand's most expert voice in the industry and is motivated to share the many benefits and some of the challenges of prefab. 

Links

Pam's Book recommendations:

Direct download: 32_PrefabNZ_with_CEO_Pamela_Bell.mp3
Category:Building -- posted at: 10:26pm +13

Jonny Parker is a Homestar Homecoach, a home assessor at Home&Dry, and also runs Attic Island in Wellington.

Listen in to find out what Attic Island is and how it can help ensure insulation stays effective, while providing much more usable space if your attic. 

http://www.­atticisland.­co.­nz

In this week's show, I also mention:

- Great comments and discussion happening both on homestylegreen.com: 

http://homestylegreen.com/what-is-the-best-form-of-heating/

and also over at Ecobob.co.nz:

http://www.ecobob.co.nz/Forum/ForumPosts/13187/Re-Is-Passivhaus-Relevant-to-New-Zealand.aspx?ShowForumPostId=13207#ForumPost13207

- Want to buy Ingo's house? Ingo Ratsdorf, who we interview in episode 19 is putting his passive solar house on the market. Let me know if you're interested and I can put you in touch. http://homestylegreen.com/passive-solar-house-riverhead/

- Big thanks for Thomas van Raamsdonk and Pro Clima for hosting an extremely informative workshop on WUFI and house ventilation this week. I hope to bring you more about this in the coming weeks. In the meantime, check out http://www.wufi-pro.com/

Direct download: 31_How_to_store_stuff_in_your_roof_with_Attic_Island.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:12pm +13

Is it 'Passive House' or 'Passivhaus'? That was one question I put to expat Kiwi, and architect Elrond Burrell. The main question though, is Passivhaus even relevant to New Zealand?

Elrond currently works as an Architect in the Herefordshire branch of Architype: http://www.architype.co.uk/

In this episode, we also cover:

  • What is Passive House?
  • How can designers and builders of high performance homes compete with the mass market?
  • How important is indoor-outdoor flow and can you still achieve Passivhaus with it?
  • Can Passivhaus be mass produced?
  • What's the role of social media for building professionals?

Resources:

Direct download: 30_Is_Passivhaus_Relevant_to_NZ_Elrond_Burrell.mp3
Category:Sustainable Design -- posted at: 10:29pm +13

Hot water is the second largest portion of energy use in New Zealand homes, accounting for around 30% of the average energy bill, that's equivalent to $650 per year. So what's the best system for your home?

My general advice:

  1. Do you need a new system? Obviously if you're building new, then you've got a great opportunity. Otherwise, if it's not broken, does it need fixing?
  2. Two main types, storage vs continuous flow. Storage tends to be better for any more than two people in the house
  3. Four main fuel types
    1. Wood
    2. Sun
    3. Electricity
    4. Gas
  4. Larger homes or long thin homes may benefit from more than one system

Resource:

http://www.energywise.govt.nz/products-and-appliances/water-heating

Direct download: 29_How_to_Heat_Your_Water.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:26pm +13

28: Ekokit - How to Build an Attractive, Efficient & Affordable Home

At the Prefab HIVE event a couple of weekends ago, I caught up with Jamie Harrington from Ekokit. I've had the pleasure of assessing some of Jamie's Hybrid Homes in Nelson, which are not only very high performing, they're also aesthetically stunning. 

WIth Ekokit, Jamie's team have applied the same sustainable philosophies to a modular, cost effective set of house plans.

Their features include:

For more information and to contact Jamie, go to http://www.ekokit.co.nz

Direct download: 28_Ekokit.mp3
Category:Sustainable Design -- posted at: 5:15am +13

27: House Planning Help with Ben Adam-Smith

A few weeks ago now, I got up at 5 am to interview Ben, who lives in Hertfordshire in the UK. Ben has a blog and podcast called HousePlanningHelp.com and he shared with me his motivation, vision and plans for learning to build a good home in the UK. 

Listen in to find out what we have in common with people building and renovating houses on the other side of the world. What are some of the biggest issues for housing in the UK and how is it similar or different to NZ? And why should we all be following Wolfgang Feist?

Ben's own very good blog site can be found at: http://www.houseplanninghelp.com

You can also find Ben all over the web:

Resources that Ben mentioned

The Sustainable Building Association: http://www.aecb.net/

Professor Wolfgang Feist:

Direct download: 27_House_Planning_Help_Ben_Adam_Smith.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:13pm +13

Part 2 of my interviews from the Rebuild and Renovate Christchurch Home Show. This week I catch up again with Bob Burnett. Bob is Homestar trained Architectural Designer who I interviewed about thermal modelling in episode 14.

I also speak with Thomas van Raamsdonk from Pro Clima about airtightness, blower doors and how to seal a three dimensional joint in framing around a window sill, using one piece of tape.

Links:


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.