Inspiring people to make a better place to live

Insulation

When you're designing a new home, or getting one built, you should invest as much as you can to upgrade the thermal envelope. Put in as much insulation as you can, and invest in the best windows you can afford. In this episode, I walk through the minimum requirements of the New Zealand building code ... [Read more]

Many people have concerns about using foam (polystyrene) because of the chemicals used to make the stuff. In fact some of those chemicals are on the Living Building Challenge Red List. So why is foam such a good building material? It's all about R-value. Foam is an incredible thermal insulator. For the price, it's about the ... [Read more]

Why is slab edge insulation so important? Surely it's the roof we should all be worried about, right? Doesn't heat go up? This is true, but the ground is cold. More importantly, the air right near the ground is really cold in winter. And this really cold air is right up close to one of ... [Read more]

Overhead, the rain pelted down on the metal roof just above my head. I later found out that it was a record rain storm for Auckland. I believed it. The roof of the circa 1920s house I was crouched in bore an almost identical resemblance to the construction and thermal performance of the simple corrugated steel ... [Read more]

Kelly Hart is an amazing thinker and innovator. He's passionate about the environment and generous with the resources and learning he shares. Notes for the episode are to come. In the meantime, here's what you need to know: Kelly Hart's amazing hub of resources and links: GreenHomeBuilding.com Source of alternative house plans: DreamGreenHomes Following on from ... [Read more]

Concrete slab edge insulation is one of my hot topics. It seems to spark debate, firstly about if it's worth doing, then secondly about how to do it. I recently spoke with manufacturer and experienced business owner, Mike Peters of Fort Wayne, Indiana who's come up with an easy solution for builders to cut heat ... [Read more]

Derek Ward's strength is the science that connects good design with good performance. Clioma House specialises in 'airtightness and effective insulation'. They help bridge the gap between the drawing board and the construction site. The sooner you think about how much you want to do in relation to performance, the cheaper and easier it is ... [Read more]

Invest up front in a good designer and you’ll save during construction. Vernacular construction is about designing and building appropriately for the local conditions. For a sustainable home, focus on insulation and ventilation. Paul Testa says he’s lucky to have clients who have asked him to design something sustainable, like The Burrows. I think Paul has ... [Read more]

So, you've decided you'd like a really good home. One that's comfortable, healthy and energy efficient. That's great, but unfortunately it's not (yet) standard practice. Hopefully you can find a good designer to help (try this list if you like). But you'll also need some good, non-standard products. This week I spoke with Ken Levenson ... [Read more]

Updated: See my updated list at the end of this article for currently available products for slab edge, perimeter insulation. BRANZ recently released their fifth edition of the House Insulation Guide. Changes in this edition include 'waffle pod' concrete slab systems, and a concrete slab edge insulation update. I discussed the importance of insulating the edge of ... [Read more]

FREE 4 PAGE GUIDE reveals how to design a sustainable home…



The Building Guide is NZ’s independent step-by-step guide for home owners who are building new or renovating, with a comprehensive building product and services gallery.