Tag Archives: climate change

PHINZ, Te Tōpūtanga o te Whare Korou ki Aotearoa, the Passive House Institute New Zealand welcomes the government announcement on Thursday (30/07/20) of a planned $500 million investment into the Kāinga Ora – Homes and Communities Retrofit Programme.

The good news is this housing for our most vulnerable people will be made warmer, drier, better ventilated and more airtight. Other positives are the job opportunities this will create within the local communities, and retrofitting of existing homes means that the embodied carbon remains in the buildings.

At this stage Kāinga Ora aims to bring these buildings up to existing new build and Homestar 6-star rating level. However, the government’s recently announced Building for Climate Change Programme and associated consultation makes it clear that the existing building code is inadequate both in terms of ensuring healthy buildings for those who inhabit them, and for meeting New Zealand’s 2050 carbon targets. 

PHINZ CEO Amy Tankard points out that;

“Aiming to the current minimum standard, whilst making the housing much better than it was, means that the newly retrofitted housing will soon fall below minimum standard again. Slightly better but still-not-great buildings will be unlikely to be revisited in the near future, thus Kāinga Ora risks locking in mediocrely performing, high emission buildings for another 50 years.”

Passive House is a building standard with tools and methods to accurately model how a building will perform prior to any building or retrofitting is started. The performance in terms of thermal comfort, air quality, moisture and heating energy use is measurable, and of the highest level. The quality of life that building or retrofitting to Passive House standard can deliver is hugely beneficial to the people living in those homes.

Passive House certified homes are likely to be the only ones that currently meet or exceed future efficiency requirements for the government’s Building for Climate Change Programme and New Zealand’s 2050 net-zero carbon target.

Passive House designers and consultants, a list of which can be found on the PHINZ website, are trained in energy modelling new and existing buildings and establishing the most cost-effective upgrade measures for the best outcomes. These retrofits could be planned to deliver really great, healthy buildings to the Passive House standard. When this is not possible, practical or affordable to achieve in a single intervention, a series of retrofit steps can be planned with a defined target and timeline to reach the desired outcomes.

On Radio NZ on 9 July, Alex Baker, Sustainability Programme Manager of Kāinga Ora said they were looking at Passive Housing, and “We’ve also got 50,000 houses around the country that will need major reinvestment over the next 10 to 20 years. And that in itself is an opportunity to significantly shift the performance of those buildings.”

Te Tōpūtanga o te Whare Korou ki Aotearoa, the Passive House Institute New Zealand, extends our support and encouragement to Kāinga Ora in delivering quality, healthy homes for people, their whanau and communities.

Download the Media Release as a PDF.

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PHINZ, Te Tōpūtanga o te Whare Korou ki Aotearoa, the Passive House Institute New Zealand enthusiastically welcomes the MBIE Building for Climate Change programme announced by Ministers Salesa (Construction) and Shaw (Climate Change) last week.

MBIE explains “The changes we’re planning will make homes warmer, drier and better ventilated, and provide a healthier place for us all to work and live” and discusses setting targets for energy efficiency and carbon emissions.

This is a vision that PHINZ is aligned with and can (and is!) already be achieved by building to the Passive House standard which ensures healthy, high performing and energy efficient buildings. In support of achieving this vision, Passive House Institute New Zealand offers:

  • training in delivering very energy efficiency buildings through the Passive House Academy NZ
  • tools and methodologies to model accurately, design and build highly energy efficient healthy buildings that, as a world-leading standard, will almost certainly meet or exceed targets MBIE may set
  • software plug-ins to calculate embodied carbon

Importantly, Passive House training, tools and methodologies encompass cost effectively renovating existing buildings to a very high standard as well as designing new buildings.

Additionally, a stand out feature of the Passive House standard is that it has an excellent track record, of over 30 years worldwide and over a decade in New Zealand, of reliably achieving the intended outcomes. To tackle climate change we need buildings that deliver the emissions reductions they are designed to, not aspirational targets that never eventuate.

PHINZ CEO Amy Tankard says

“Us kiwis can be a hardy and humble bunch, often willing to make the best of limited resources and, as BRANZ reports have repeatedly shown, this has led to us accepting less than ideal conditions for our living and working spaces. With covid-19 we’ve recently seen how we can work together as a country to achieve common goals and take pride in innovative solutions to our challenges. So here it is – Passive House is a tried and tested solution, for building for climate change, scientifically proven in theory and practice.”

MBIE’s initiative sends a clear message that first costs and building to a currently inadequate Building Code are no longer the right focus. The programme is fantastic news for builders, designers and suppliers alike, paving the way for quality and fit-for-purpose products and buildings to become the norm. In turn, this market demand will mean warm, dry, healthy and energy efficient buildings should become easier and more affordable to achieve. Mandating the Passive House standard for new buildings and renovations, or specifying it as an exemption to energy efficiency requirements like the Healthy homes standards already does for heating, would be one way to accelerate this process and set Aotearoa NZ well on the way to achieving our 2050 emission reduction targets.

Minister Salesa said the Government had recently signed up to a joint statement with Australia, Canada and the United States to work together to develop building code responses to the changing climate. This is also good news as there are already jurisdictions in both Canada and the United States that offer incentives or exemptions for developers building certified Passive House buildings.

PHINZ welcomes the opportunity to work with MBIE and all stakeholders on this programme and recommends the government look to the leadership already shown by PHINZ members in this area, especially those with professional passive house qualifications.

This programme is a historic call to action, and PHINZ will continue to advocate for the government to make bold decisions and get this right for Aotearoa NZ

Download the Media Release as a PDF.

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