Home Style Green - Sustainable Design and Building

Nudura is a brand of Insulated Concrete Forms, which as CEO Murray Snider describes, is like giant Lego blocks. When the polystyrene pieces are slotted together and then concrete poured into the central cavity, creating airtight walls, the resulting comfort and thermal performance is impressive. 

Murray was recently visiting New Zealand from his home in Canada and I took the opportunity to find out more about ICF and Nudura. 

For more, visit 

http://homestylegreen.com/67

To get in touch with Nudura directly here in New Zealand, contact Chevy Chisholm 

email: chevy.chisholm@me.com

phone: 021 766 117

Direct download: 67_Nudura_Insulated_Concrete_Forms.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:37pm NZDT

Sustainability Options is an 'altruistic business'. Find out how they contribute 85% of their profit back to the community, provide free home assessments that save households between 10% and 30% on their power bills, and their recent campaign to help one family in need. 

Direct download: 66_Sustainability_Options_with_Phil_Gregg.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:52am NZDT

In this weeks show, I discuss the evidence that there is monetary value in getting a rating for your home. 

References:

  • http://www.usgbc.org/sites/default/files/ValueofGreenHomeLabelsStudy_July2012.pdf
  • http://www.nathers.gov.au/about/publications/pubs/eer-house-price-act.pdf
  • http://besthome.org.nz/showhome.html
  • http://www.homestar.org.nz/newsroom/value-and-affordability-homestar

Related Episode:

Home Style Green Episode 21: https://itunes.apple.com/nz/podcast/21-upcoming-events-red-tape/id513213105?i=134294625&mt=2

Direct download: 65_The_Value_of_Rating_Your_Home.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:08pm NZDT

What comes to mind when you hear the term ‘cohousing’. For many, there many be some negative connotations. The reality though is that there are so many advantages to sharing some things with your neighbours, while still maintaining a strong sense of privacy and your own space. 

Robin Allison trained as an architect in order to help create a more sustainable future. She ended up initiating what was to be become Earthsong Eco-Neigbourhood. 

To connect with Robin, go to: http://robinallison.co.nz/

Be sure to check out: http://www.earthsong.org.nz/

Book Recommendation: Pocket Neighborhoods: Creating Small-Scale Community in a Large-Scale World http://amzn.to/1hB3xtL

Related sites:

House Planning Help Episode 28, How Co-Housing Helps Build a Community: http://www.houseplanninghelp.com/hph028-how-cohousing-helps-build-a-community-with-mark-westcombe-from-lancaster-cohousing/

Gilo Holtzman of Synthesis Studio: http://synthesisstudio.org/about/

 

Direct download: 64_The_Benefits_of_Cohousing.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:28pm NZDT

What other form of heating provides a coefficient of performance, around 5 - 7? That’s the promise, and the reality of ground source heat pump technology.

This week I spoke to Senior Hydrogeologist at Geoscience Consulting NZ, Huw Williams about this amazing technology. We discuss if it’s suitable for houses in New Zealand and why Huw is so interested in ground source heat pumps as a sustainable technology. 

Links:

Direct download: 63_Ground_Source_Heat_Pumps_with_Huw_Williams.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:12pm NZDT

The key characteristics that Jo and Shay were after when they designed and built the Zero Energy House were:

  1. Comfort and Health
  2. Affordability - of building AND operating
  3. Inspiration 

We also discuss some of the specific features that have made it possible to bring these characteristics to life. 

For more, check out http://zeroenergyhouse.co.nz/

Direct download: 62_Zero_Energy_House.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:01pm NZDT

Ben Adam-Smith discusses EcoBuild 2014, what makes an energy efficient house, constraints versus compromise, new versus retrofit, why houses don't use energy, and population growth. 

Also, find out why Ben hasn't had a bath for a year!

Links:

  • http://www.houseplanninghelp.com/
  • https://www.thesnippetapp.com/web/writers/benadam-smith
  • http://www.ecobuild.co.uk/
Direct download: 61_EcoBuild__Update_from_Ben_Adam-Smith.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:37pm NZDT

Louisa Chase is the Project Manager for EcoFest 2014. The festival runs from March 15th through to April 13th and has everything from films, to gardening and composting seminars, eco-house tours and even a sustainable fashion show. 

We discuss why Kaipatiki exists, the difference one person can make, and ‘Nana Technologies’. 

For more, be sure to check out http://kaipatiki.org.nz/ecofest/ and http://www.ecomatters.org.nz/what-s-on/ecowest-festival-2014/

Thanks to DOC for the dawn chorus on this week’s show. To listen to this, and other native New Zealand birds, go to:

 

http://www.doc.govt.nz/conservation/native-animals/birds/new-zealand-bird-songs-and-calls/

Also mentioned this week:

  • Zero Energy House (coming up): http://zeroenergyhouse.co.nz/
  • Ecobuild: http://www.ecobuild.co.uk/ 
Direct download: 60_Ecofest_with_Louisa_Chase.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:34pm NZDT

Adrian Feasey is a solar consultant, so he knows a thing or two about energy efficiency. Why then would he purchase a 1960s, weatherboard house with no insulation and begin a renovation project to try and make it warm, comfortable and cost effective? 

Adrian is showcasing his house as part of an eco-house tour in the upcoming Kaipatiki Ecofest. 

Ecofest Website:

http://kaipatiki.org.nz/ecofest/

Ecofest House Tour:

https://www.eventbrite.co.nz/e/ecofest-2014-good-life-tour-tickets-10444211919

Adrian Feasey on LinkedIn

nz.linkedin.com/in/adrianfeasey

Adrian’s Book Recommendation:

 

The Transition Handbook: From Oil Dependency to Local Resilience, http://amzn.to/1pwJvIo

Direct download: 59_Starting_a_Home_Renovation_with_Adrian_Feasey.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:35am NZDT

James L. Salmon is the President of Collaborative Construction, an organisation created to encourage a better way of building. After spending much of his legal career helping sort out disputes between building owners, contractors and suppliers, James is convinced there's a much better way of organising, communicating and conducting the design, procurement and building processes. 

Direct download: 58_Collaborative_Construction_with_James_Salmon.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:23pm NZDT

I caught up this week with Lois Easton from Beacon Pathway. Lois is one of the organisers for the 'Building a Better New Zealand' conference coming up in September. 

Submissions for abstracts is open until March 9th, so if you're interested, check out their website for more details.

http://www.buildingabetternewzealand.co.nz/

Also in this week's show:

Direct download: 57_Building_a_Better_New_Zealand_with_Lois_Easton.mp3
Category:Building -- posted at: 10:50pm NZDT

What is the IDEAL House, and how will everyone soon be able to see it? I talk with owner, Murray Durbin and he shares his inspiration and discusses some of the features that make this house special. We also talk numbers!

For more, visit: http://idealhouse.org

Direct download: 56_iDEAL_House_with_Murray_Durbin.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:42pm NZDT

Direct download: 55_A_DIY_Project.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:56pm NZDT

Dean Buckeridge has been designing energy efficient, passive solar homes in Christchurch for as long as I’ve can remember. Along with Russell Devlin, and Bob Burnett, I hold Dean in high regard for leadership in this field. It’s great to see the rest of the market finally starting to demand more of their knowledge and skills.

In this episode of Home Style Green, we discuss why asthma is the norm in Kiwi kids, how thermal mass can go wrong, the economics of spending a bit more up front, the problem with teenage daughter and having cosy feet.

Dean is also involved with MagRoc. Find out about the benefits of this exciting new product. 

Find out more about Dean at:

http://www.dbarc.co.nz/energy-efficient-architecture/

And MagRoc at:

http://www.magroc.co.nz/

Dean also mentioned the site sorted, for looking at the cost of mortgages:

https://www.sorted.org.nz/

Direct download: 54_Energy_Efficient_Homes__MagRoc_with_Dean_Buckeridge.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:03pm NZDT

What's a fast, inexpensive way to build that can result in high performance homes? 

It is of course, prefab. And this week I talk with Melissa Savage from Metrapanel.

http://www.metrapanel.co.nz/

I'd love to get your questions, comments and feedback:

http://www.homestylegreen.com

https://twitter.com/mcutlerwelsh

https://www.facebook.com/HomeStyleGreen

http://www.pinterest.com/homestylegreen/

https://plus.google.com/101260690494539970922/posts

email: matthew@homestylegreen.com

Direct download: 53_Metrapanel_with_Melissa_Savage.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:12pm NZDT

What could we learn from a creative entrepreneur who's looking at ways to inspire others to live to their highest potential?

No, you haven't tuned into the wrong podcast. It is something a bit different today as I talk with Paul Blais from Doubt the Doubts. 

Paul also has some great experience selling and installing efficient lighting. 

Links

  • http://www.doubtthedoubts.com
  • http://www.gotogirl.com

Book Recommendation

Paul's book recommendation is The Power of Habit

Where to Find Paul Blais and Doubt the Doubts

Direct download: 52_Doubt_the_Doubts_with_Paul_Blais.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:05pm NZDT

Damien Hochberg is the Operations Manager at Go Green Expo. I caught up with him to find out what the Expo's all about, who's exhibiting and who should attend. 

I also wanted to know, why Damien felt the need to create the Go Green Expo. 

If you're in Wellington this week, head along to the TSB Area. I'm going to be there, so come and say hello!

http://www.gogreenexpo.co.nz

(Please note, views expressed in this show do not reflect the views of any past or present employer)

Direct download: 51_Whos_Going_to_the_Go_Green_Expo.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:36pm NZDT

Why should all buildings designed for people, be designed by an architect, and how can architects be more influential?

Architects, like all building professionals, need to run a good business to be effective.

Mark R. LePage is an Entrepreneur Architect. He's passionate about the business of architecture, so much so that he writes, podcasts and coaches other architects how to run successful businesses. 

I spokes with Mark about his journey, what makes his architectural practice, Fivecat Studio different, and the influence that architecture can have on people. 

How much time do you spend finding out what your clients need or want?

Links:

Mark's book recommendation:

The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don't Work and What to Do About It

Upcoming Events

Direct download: 50_The_Business_of_Architecture_with_EntreArchitect_Mark_R_LePage.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:12am NZDT

Chris McKay has built what looks like a fairly regular home for his family on the outskirts of Christchurch. Like many residents, they were forced to leave their previous home following the Canterbury earthquakes in 2011. Now they have a warm, comfortable, resilient home and Chris hasn't had a power bill since moving. In this episode, I find out how he did it. 

Also check out some of Chris' stunning photography:

http://chrismckayphotography.com/

Resources mentioned in the show include:

  • http://ecobob.co.nz
  • http://www.enasolar.co.nz
Direct download: Chris_McKay.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:24pm NZDT

How important are curtains when it comes to improving the performance of your home? 

As Chad Keven from Heavy Duty Curtains explains, it's not just about the drapes, the curtain track that supports the curtain can also play a big role in improving the insulation properties. 

So how much extra does it cost? Tune in to find out. You might be surprised!

For more, visit: http://www.heavydutycurtains.co.nz/

Other links from this episode:

Direct download: 48_Is_it_Curtains_for_Good_Quality_Homes.mp3
Category:Products and Materials -- posted at: 10:14pm NZDT

Home is where the heart is. It's also where our lungs are, where our eyes and ears are, where our whole bodies, and where our minds are.

In this week's show, I read a short audio essay about why we should dream and why we should ask for, and build better homes. 

Links:

Direct download: 47_Home_is_Where_the_Heart_is.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:14pm NZDT

46: How to Measure the Impact of Where Stuff Comes From with eTool

What's the impact of where all the stuff comes from that you use when creating your dream home, and how do you measure it? That's what LCA (life cycle analysis) is all about, and that's what eTool is all about. This week, I talk to eTool creator, Alex Bruce. 

Growing up on a farm helped shape Alex's appreciation for the outdoors. He went on to study Mechanical Engineering and while working in remote north Western Australia, got an opportunity to get into the solar panel business. 

One day someone asked Alex if it was true that solar panels consume more energy to make that what they produce in their lifetime. At the time he didn't know the answer, and set out to find out. 

eTool is now available to help answer that same question for all types of products and materials that go into building your home. 

References:

  • http://etool.net.au/
  • http://www.homestar.org.nz/
  • http://www.bioregional.com/oneplanetliving/what-is-one-planet-living/
  • http://www.oneplanetliving.org/index.html
  • http://www.usgbc.org/leed/homes
  • http://living-future.org/lbc

Book recommendation:

Making Your Home Sustainable, by Derek Wrigley

Other Podcasts:

http://www.entrearchitect.com/category/podcast/

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/geoff-mcdonald-ideas-architect/id673000099

http://www.houseplanninghelp.com/category/podcast/

https://itunes.apple.com/nz/podcast/rnz-nine-to-noon/id174829950

https://itunes.apple.com/nz/podcast/rnz-this-way-up/id207987745

Direct download: 46_How_to_Measure_the_Impact_of_Where_Stuff_Comes_From_with_eTool.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:32pm NZDT

New Zealand Centre for Sustainable Cities are hosting a launch event on 20th August 2013 in Wellington for the book 'Homes People Can Afford"

The book was put together by Sarah Bierre, Philippa Howden-Chapman and Lisa Early from He Kainga Oranga, the Housing and Health Research Programme.

I discussed with Sarah, why they wrote the book, what housing affordability actually means and why it's important. 

Reference

The Poetics of Space

Direct download: Homes_People_can_Afford.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:47am NZDT

Danny Squires and Martin Luff met on Twitter, were inspired by a TEDex video and have since co-founded WikiHouse NZ. With this project, they're setting out to change the world and to 'make things better' by design. 

Links:

  • WikiHouse NZ Website: http://spacecraft.co.nz/
  • TV3 News item: http://www.3news.co.nz/Chch-developers-plan-jigsaw-puzzle-house/tabid/423/articleID/307657/Default.aspx
  • http://blog.ted.com/2013/05/23/how-to-print-out-your-own-house/

Supporters:

  • http://www.health2000.co.nz/
  • http://www.madeonjupiter.com/
  • http://www.pfc.co.nz/
  • http://www.jnl.co.nz/
  • http://www.massey.ac.nz/massey/about-massey/news/article.cfm?mnarticle=fab-lab-wellington-officially-opened-28-08-2012

Direct download: 44_How_to_Make_Things_Better_with_WikiHouse_NZ.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:36pm NZDT

In this short, sharp episode of Home Style Green, I answer a listener question about insulating the edges of a concrete floor slab, what to do if you can't afford to install solar hot water, thermally broken windows, getting extra insulation in your walls and LED lighting. 

Direct download: 43_Concrete_slab_hot_water_windows_walls__LEDs_-_Listener_Questions.mp3
Category:Building -- posted at: 8:34pm NZDT

Design Navigator is a great, online resource for calculating the thermal performance of your house plan. I spoke with developer, Albrecht Stoecklein about why he created it and a great new feature he's just added.

References

  • http://www.designnavigator.co.nz/index.html
  • http://www.energywise.govt.nz/resource/design-sun
  • http://www.ecotect.co.nz/PDF/eecapsfs.pdf
  • http://www.waitakere.govt.nz/abtcit/ec/bldsus/pdf/energy/designsun.pdf
Direct download: 42_Design_Navigator_with_Albrecht_Stoecklein.mp3
Category:Sustainable Design -- posted at: 10:10pm NZDT

Lisa Madarasz was frustrated by not being able to find good products for her home that were going to be good for her family and good for the planet. (Does that sound familiar?)

With so much 'eco' marketing out there, how can you tell what's truly green?

To help, Lisa created Ecodeals.co.nz

links:

  • http://www.ecodeals.co.nz
  • https://www.facebook.com/ecodeals
  • http://www.environmentalchoice.org.nz/
  • http://www.unpackit.org.nz/
  • http://greenideas.co.nz/products-page/subscription/new-subscription/
Direct download: 41_Save_Time._Save_Money._Save_the_Planet._Ecodeals_with_Lisa_Madarasz.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm NZDT

What's a "Building Whisperer"?

David Bartlett leads the IBM’s Smarter Buildings initiative, helping clients create more green, cost-efficient cities, campuses, corporate offices, commercial sites, casinos, hospitals and neighborhoods worldwide.  As IBM’s “Building Whisperer,” he is a vocal advocate at industry events and in media for using data analysis to better control buildings’ function and tame wasteful energy practices.

Links mentioned in today's show:

Direct download: 40_Building_Whisperer_David_Bartlett.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:10pm NZDT

ZETA Design + Build produce modular buildings inside a factory. I spoke with CEO, Howard Koenig this week to talk about why anyone would want a factory built home. Turns out there are some very compelling reasons. Listen in to find out more.

Useful links:

Direct download: 39_Howard_Koenig_ZETA_modular_building.mp3
Category:Building -- posted at: 8:54pm NZDT

I've just come back from three days at buildnz designex. This week I report back on some of the highlights from the show and some great new products to look out for.

Plus, a question about reducing VOCs and toxicity in a new home:

  1. Don't be fooled by the name 'eco..'
  2. Look for known, third party verification like ISO 14001, Environment Choice or FSC and looked for reporte figures on VOCs
  3. Use Envirospec 
  4. Ask your designer, supplier and builder, to specify, supply and use low VOC and non-formaldehyde products

Links from the show:


Aridon is a brand new product to keep your house warmer, dryer and to help build it quicker. And it's a Kiwi invention.

Sound too good to be true?

I spoke with creators and owners of the company, Christina Gomes and Stephen Pinkney.

For more information check out: www.aridon.co.nz

You can also check out Aridon, and me this weekend at BuildNZ | Designex: http://buildnz.com/

http://buildnz.com/certifiedbuilders.htm

Christina and Stephen's recommendations:

Direct download: 37_Aridon._A_brand_new_product_to_keep_your_house_dry_and_warm.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:58pm NZDT

Vector is the electricity distribution, or the 'lines' company for Auckland. Vector is not an electricity generator (in the traditional sense). Nor are they a retailer (in the traditional sense). So why are they now selling solar oiwer systems for homes that generate electricity? I spoke with CEO Simon Mackenzie to find out. 

For more information about their system, check out http://vector.co.nz/solar

Direct download: 36_Whats_so_special_about_Vectors_Solar_Project-.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:41pm NZDT

The New Zealand Building Code is implementation of the Building Act 2004. It's a 'performanced-based' code, but don't let the name fool you. In this epside I discuss why the Building Code can't be relied upon to produce a good home for you, and what you can do about it. 

Useful Link: 

EECA Report Investigatin quality of insulation in new build residential homes:http://www.eeca.govt.nz/node/11719

Direct download: 35_Why_You_Cant_Trust_The_Building_Code.mp3
Category:Building -- posted at: 10:44pm NZDT

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 NZDT

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 NZDT

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 NZDT

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 NZDT

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 NZDT

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 NZDT

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 NZDT

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 NZDT

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.


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: 12:39am NZDT

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: 10:26pm NZDT

22 Rebuild and Renovate Christchurch

Amanda Magnus is the Exhibition Director for Exhibitions & Events New Zealand, and is responsible for organising the inaugural Rebuild and Renovate Christchurch Home Show. http://www.canterburyhomeshow.co.nz/index.htm  

The show, which is on from Friday 22nd - Sunday 24th March at CBS Canterbury Arena, is a response to huge demand in Christchurch for information about building a home.  

I spoke with Amanda about why there's room in the exhibition calendar for another show in Canterbury and how you, as someone interested in building, can get the most out of the show, including how to get a great discount on the entry!  

Also in this week's show:

Check out Ben Adam-Smith's site: http://www.houseplanninghelp.com/ 

Ben and I compared notes recently about eco-building and also podcasting. I look forward to bring you an interview with him soon. (Thanks also Ben for mentioned Home Style Green on your show!)  

James Schramkohttp://www.superfastbusiness.com/ 

Anyone interested in online business and marketing probably knows James already. And if you don't check him out online. He's not hard to find. I tune in to James for tips on podcasting and all things internet and really appreciate the advice on using https://auphonic.com/.

What do you think of the sound quality of this show? Write and let me know: comments@homestylegreen.com  

Breathe - The new urban village project

Awesome event with Kevin McCloud as one of the judges. I was privileged to be at the announcement of the four finalists last week with Mayor Bob Parker and Minister for Building and Construction, Hon Maurice Williamson. Check out all the entries here: http://www.futurechristchurch.co.nz/breathe 

Green Cities I'm looking forward to reporting back on the latest from Sydney, where I've got a small speaking slot! http://greencities.org.au/ 

As always, I'd love to get your comments, questions and feedback:

Contact me on, comments@homestylegreen.com 

https://www.facebook.com/HomeStyleGreen

Direct download: 22_Rebuild_and_Renovate_Christchurch.mp3
Category:Industry -- posted at: 9:59pm NZDT

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: 9:36pm NZDT

20: How to Insulate a Concrete Floor Slab

Why should you insulate the edges of your concrete slab? 

I was amazed when I discovered how much of the heat loss from a concrete floor can occur out the side of the slab, as opposed to down into the ground under the slab. 

It's as much as 80%. 

That means that most of the heat loss (the energy that you're paying for) goes straight out through the narrow bit of exposed concrete around the edge at the base of the house.

Why is this so? Well there are two main reasons and I go into a bit of detail on the blog. Check out http://homestylegreen.com/insulated-concrete-floor

In this podcast we talk solutions. I interview Craig Lonsdale, a Quantity Surveyor with Maxraft. 

Maxraft is a great solution for insulating the whole of a concrete floor, not just underneath. 

http://maxr.co.nz/

Other resources include BRANZ: http://www.branz.co.nz/cms_display.php?sn=123&st=1. Check out their Bulletin number 552 'Edge insulation of concrete floor slabs'.

Please take two minutes to give the show a rating over in iTunes. I'd also love it if you could write a quite review: https://itunes.apple.com/nz/podcast/home-style-green/id513213105

For comments and questions, write to me: comments@homestylegreen.com

Cheers,

Matthew Cutler-Welsh

Direct download: 20_How_to_insulate_a_concrete_floor_slab.mp3
Category:Insulation -- posted at: 10:35pm NZDT

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: 9:42pm NZDT

How do you build a code 4 house for the price of code 3? And how do you get industry to solve the problem themselves?

Richard Buchanan is an Associate Director at BRE and Founder of Green Building Consultancy Ltd. I met Richard recently inside a LinkedIn group during a discussion about housing affordability. 

It turns out that while we're all looking around for policy solutions and government intervention here in New Zealand, the UK building industry has already figured out how to build better homes, for less. And they did it by collaborating together. 

Richard explains what a Code 3 and a Code 4 home is and describes the aimc4.com project that successfully helped the industry produce more efficient and healthier homes, without any additional upfront cost.

Some links that Richard mentions in this episode include:

Direct download: 18_How_to_Build_to_Code_4_for_the_Price_of_Code_3.mp3
Category:Building -- posted at: 10:06pm NZDT

One of the most common questions I get asked is "what's the best form of heating?"
Much to the frustration of most people, I usually answer "it depends…" The best type of heater for you and your home does depend on many factors, however there are some guiding principles that apply to all cases.
  1. The most sustainable form of heating is passive
  2. The second most sustainable form of heating is wood
  3. Heat pumps (split-system, reverse-cycle air conditioners) are single room heaters
  4. Homes with solid fuel burners are generally warmer than those with electric heating
  5. Your roof won't heat your home
  6. Water is much better at moving heat around then air it
  7. Insulation is always the first step
  8. Insulation is not heating
Useful links:
CCANZ design guide:
Otago Univserity study on heating potential of home ventilation systems:
Direct download: 17_Heating_Guidelines.mp3
Category:Heating -- posted at: 12:55pm NZDT

Throwing food scraps away is something that most of us do, because it's convenient. 

But there are so many reasons why throwing nutrients away is a bad idea. So what are the best ways to make it easy and effective to compost at home?

In this episode I also mention:

Direct download: 16_Thats_not_Rubbish.mp3
Category:Waste -- posted at: 11:17pm NZDT

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 NZDT

An architectural designer sits somewhere between a draughter and an architect. 

Bob Burnett is an experienced architectural designer in Christchurch and he explained to me some of the reasons why it's a good idea to consult with a designer if you're planning a new build or a renovation. 

Bob is also an experienced energy modeller using ArchiCAD's Eco Designer and he shares a great story about how he saved a client by redesigning their roof.

Bob's website is at: http://www.bbarc.com

In this show we also mention:

  • Architectural Designers New Zealand; http://www.adnz.org.nz
  • New Zealand Institute of Architects; http://www.nzia.co.nz
  • Homestar; http://homestar.org.nz

Remember, you can contact me at comments@homestylegreen.com

Direct download: 14_Bob_Burnett.mp3
Category:Sustainable Design -- posted at: 8:49pm NZDT

About 10% of New Zealand homes invest in some form of retrofitted ventilation system. But do you really need one, and if so, what for?

In this cast I talk about how to tell if your house is leaky or air-tight depending on it's age, two basic types of ventilation systems and the common symptoms that cause people to want to install a ventilation system. 

Steps to take when considering ventilation are:

  1. What's your problem?
  2. What's your house type?
  3. Insulation
  4. Draughts 
  5. Adequate heating
  6. Extraction of moisture at the source
  7. Whole-house ventilation

To get independent advice, talk to a Homestar Practitioner: http://homestar.org.nz/services

Also, check out two of my other favourite podcasts:

  • Tim Reid at Small Business Big Marketing
    • http://smallbusinessbigmarketing.com/
  • Natalie Cutler-Welsh and Jacqui Lockington at If Only They'd Told Me
    • http://www.ifonlytheytoldme.com/

Would you like to be part of Home Style Green?

Contact me: comments@homestylegreen.com

Direct download: 13_Do_you_need_a_ventilation_system.mp3
Category:Ventilation -- posted at: 10:54pm NZDT

Part 2 of our wrap of the NZGBC event in June. 

This week, Verney and I discuss LED lighting, ventilation, 3D thermal modelling in CAD, construction waste management and other highlights from the Master Class day that followed on from the NZGBC Sustainable Housing Summit.

Selected pdfs of some presentations are available on the NZGBC website

Direct download: 12_NZGBC_Master_Classes.mp3
Category:Industry -- posted at: 11:33pm NZDT

11 Sustainable Housing Summit

The inaugural Sustainable Housing Summit, hosted by the New Zealand Green Building Council, took place at the Auckland Viaduct Events Centre on June 27th 2012. 

It was a great event with over 120 attendees, a very promising sign for similar events in the future. 

I caught up with Verney Ryan via Skype to discuss the highlights. 

For more information, check out NZGBC where you can now find pdf downloads of most of the presentations.

Some of the people and organisations we discussed during this cast include:

Direct download: 11_Sustainable_Housing_Summit.mp3
Category:Industry -- posted at: 9:11pm NZDT

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 NZDT

Barb Cooper is a real estate agent with a difference. 

In this interview, Barb shares some of the strategies she uses to build her network and how she's involved in the local community. It's refreshing to hear from someone who loves what they do. Barb shares her passion and her belief in the role that the real estate industry can play in improving the environment. 

Barb can be found at: http://www.downtoearthre.co.nz/

Barb also mentions:

Direct download: 9_Down_to_Earth_Real_Estate.mp3
Category:Real Estate -- posted at: 10:55pm NZDT

It was my pleasure to interview Verney Ryan this week. Verney has been influential in the field of sustainable building and design bother here in New Zealand and overseas. Listen in to see how Verney describes his 'job'.

Links mentioned in this cast include:

BRE: http://www.bre.co.uk/

Beacon NOW homes

http://www.beaconpathway.co.nz/new-homes

Homestar

http://homestar.org.nz

Direct download: 8_Introducing_Verney_Ryan.mp3
Category:Sustainable Design -- posted at: 9:15pm NZDT

Last week, an evaluation report on the Warm Up New Zealand: Heat Smart Programme, was released. It makes for some interesting reading, including a cost benefit analysis of the programme. 

Check out http://www.healthyhousing.org.nz for more details

Other news to check out:

News real now online at http://www.homestylegreen.com

NZGBC Sustainable Housing Summit. Be there!

http://www.nzgbc.org.nz

Keynote speaker is Bill Dunster from ZEDfactory

Also, check out the most exciting roof in New Zealand and the flash new website of the Zero Energy House: http://www.zeroenergyhouse.co.nz

Direct download: 7_Evaluation_of_Warm_Up_New_Zealand.mp3
Category:Insulation -- posted at: 5:41am NZDT

This week I caught up with Alex Reiche for the very first Home Style Green expert interview. 

Alex Reiche is the Founder and Managing Director of EnviroSpec, an online register of 'Eco-Preferred' products. 

Check out EnviroSpec's interacitve house to find the best products for your building project. 

Alex is also an accredited Homestar and Green Star professional and offers design and certification advice for residential and commercial buildings. 

Direct download: 6_Envirospec.mp3
Category:Products and Materials -- posted at: 8:20pm NZDT

In today's cast, I complete our introduction to heating systems with a look at central heating. 

Common to all central heating systems are three main components:

1. The fuel

2. The engine or heater

3. The distribution system - pipes, ducts and outlets

There are two main mediums for transfering heat. Air is common with gas-fired heaters and large ducts but is not as effective as water based systems.

Air ducts can lose up to 1 degree per m of duct. 

Heating that is not true central heating includes inslab or undertile electric element heating, heat transfer and ventilation system. 

Direct download: 5_Central_Heating.mp3
Category:Heating -- posted at: 7:31am NZDT

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 NZDT

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 NZDT

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 NZDT

Welcome to Episode 1 of Home Style Green, the podcast about how to live a healthy and happy lifestyle without it costing the Earth.

I'm Matthew Cutler-Welsh: Engineer, Dad, Homeowner and someone who's passionate about making urban environments more sustainable. 

This is my first podcast and my objective is to share ideas about building green homes, with style. 

Links in today's cast include:

  • The Home Style Green website: http://homestylegreen.com
  • EECA Energywise: http://www.energywise.govt.nz/
Direct download: 001HomeStyleGreen.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:42pm NZDT