Tag Archives: passive house

Kia ora koutou,

In honour of Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori, I had a chat to Kiharoa Milroy  (Tūhoe and Ngāti Whakaue) about the gifting of our Te Reo name – Te Tōpūtanga o te Whare Korou ki Aotearoa – earlier this year.

Kiharoa explained that he was approached by a member of the board to see if he could identify a suitable name for us, and given some Passive House reading material. A few weeks later, Kiharoa had given a lot of thought to suitable words that described the essence of Passive House, and had hit upon the word Korou which encompassed both energy and vitality. “Energy” felt appropriate because Passive House buildings are energy efficient, and “vitality” too, as healthy buildings facilitate vitality for those who use them.  With the word Tōpūtanga meaning gathering or group, and Whare as house or building, the name fell into place.

Kiharoa felt that there could be a few meanings for the phrase Te Tōpūtanga o te Whare Korou, both of which could be appropriate. Firstly, our aim is to gather people into Passive House buildings. Secondly, we want to create groups of “houses of vitality”; we would love to see Passive House buildings everywhere in the community.

Our board member and his colleague loved the name straight away. They pondered it for a while and introduced it to the rest of the board, who thought it was great and suggested the addition of ki Aotearoa.

So, the name was adopted through a ceremony, held online due to Covid-19, with board members conducting a karakia and mihi – Te Tōpūtanga o te Whare Korou ki Aotearoa. Here is a link to the original story about this. We are grateful to everyone who had input into this.

Ngā Mihi Nui

Amy Tankard

CEO Te Tōpūtanga o te Whare Korou ki Aotearoa

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We were very pleased to have Dr Jess Berentson-Shaw from The Workshop keynote at SPPHC19 (video and slides available here – it is highly recommended watching before making use of the checklist below)

Subsequently, PHINZ has worked with Dr Jess Berentson-Shaw to develop a checklist for our members. It is intended to help you advocate for Passive House by communicating its proven benefits using accurate and compelling story-telling.

It is free to download on the resources page.

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Within the industry and media, there are occasionally claims that buildings meet or exceed the Passive House standard simply because they might include particular features or approaches that are similar to Passive House. For example, they achieve a good air-tightness result, include insulation above the building code minimum, or use very little energy for heating. It is incorrect to claim that such a building is a Passive House unless it can be shown to be designed and constructed according to all the certification criteria.

PHINZ have taken legal advice and, based on a similar document from the UK, produced a technical briefing outlining relevant NZ law and clarifying PHINZ’s position on claims of the “Passive House Standard” and how the terms “Passive House” and Passivhaus” should be used in Aotearoa NZ.

It is free to download on the resources page.

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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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Amy Tankard, CEO of PHINZ was interviewed on RNZ Nine To Noon on the 9th of July, alongside Alex Baker from Kāinga Ora and Emma Osmundsen from Exeter City Living. There is a good write up of the interview on the RNZ site here including the audio. You can also listen below.

With calls for a green edge to the post-covid recovery – and billions committed to building new state houses in New Zealand – should the Government be considering passive housing?

Passive homes require little-to-no heating because of their design. These are airtight, but ventilated and very well-insulated.

Advocates in New Zealand say there should be a legal requirement for all builds to be passive – and for social housing in particular. 

RNZ Nine To Noon: Should our social housing be passive?
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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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After the “High-performance buildings at scale” event, Emma Osmundsen of Exeter City Living kindly shared a short video with us. It is a conversation taking place between some of the Keir Construction team on the construction site of the St Loyes Extra Care Facility for Exeter City Council. More about the project on the website of the architect, Architype UK.

Enjoy!

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At our High-performance Buildings at Scale event, there was a Question & Answer session with Chris Higgins (Green Building Planner for the City of Vancouver), Emma Osmundsen (Managing Director Exeter City Living Ltd.) Hosted by Kara Rosemeier (PHINZ) with special guest Alex Baker (Sustainability Programme Manager at Kāinga Ora)

We have made the transcript available on the download page. (Direct link to download the PDF.)

What can we learn about adopting high-performance buildings at scale from the success enjoyed by Vancouver BC and Exeter UK?

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Chris Higgins, Green Building Planner for the City of Vancouver, recently participated in a “High-performance buildings at scale” panel discussion hosted by PHINZ.

Key strategies he shared:

  • Show leadership in City projects
  • Catalyze voluntary champions
  • Build capacity in expertise, supply, and construction
  • Set Green House Gas emission limits

Chris has very kindly made his presentation slides available. Click on the image to download the PDF [3 MB].

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On Friday the 20th of March 2020, the PHINZ board gathered online with Kiharoa Milroy (Tūhoe and Ngāti Whakaue) for a small ceremony to accept the gift of a Te Reo Māori name for our organisation: Te Tōpūtanga o te Whare Korou ki Aotearoa. It was a touching ceremony and the board was very grateful to receive such a beautiful and fitting name. We feel that the name Dr. Wolfgang Fiest was first looking for back in 1991 to truly express the meaning of “Passive House” has finally been discovered.

Here is what the name Te Tōpūtanga o te Whare Korou ki Aotearoa means:


Te Tōpūtanga = The Institute (association, collective, grouping, organisation, ref)
o te Whare = of the house
Korou = energy/vitality/desire/aspiration (ref)
ki Aotearoa = of New Zealand

As one board member put it:

A wish for all of us. The healthy home that we live in will support our families to thrive, grow and prosper. Our aspiration is that it is commonplace for all of New Zealand to have this opportunity.

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