Should our social housing be passive?

In  by andreaSep 28, 2020

Radio New Zealand interviewed Amy Tankard, Chief Executive of the Passive House Institute.

“The great thing about passive house is it can be modelled in advance, before the building is built and so you can see how the building will perform.

“Rather than making iterative changes or adding a little bit of insulation or adding some better windows you can actually model the whole building system and ensure that it will perform as expected.”

If the government wants to achieve its standard for healthy homes, investing in passive upfront makes sense, she says.

“The government has said they want to see all houses warm, dry and healthy, so if you go in with this high standard which is tried and tested both overseas and in New Zealand then you know you’re making an investment for the future.”

The process is relatively simple, she told Nine to Noon.

“The only difference about passive house to conventional build is that we have a very prescriptive and rigorous requirement in terms of quality and quality assurance.”

“There’s a simple spreadsheet where we input all the data that basically guarantees that we will deliver a high performing building.”

If the principles of passive houses are followed methodically it doesn’t require specialist builders or designers, she says.

“I’m really keen to bust the myth in terms of passive house being very sophisticated. It’s sophisticated in as much as it’s delivering high performance buildings but it’s actually very simplistic to apply.”

In the UK a passive house costs between 4 and 9 percent more to build, she says. Typically, that would be recovered in the first 10 years through energy savings.

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