163: The Facts About Airtightness

Walls (and roofs and floors) of buildings have become complicated. As we’ve increased the level of insulation, we’ve created some new problems, like condensation. This has been aggravated by the addition of layers into the wall that reduce air movement. So how do you create a wall that keeps you warm but will also stay dry? I Read More …

142 Bamboo is Sustainable

Bamboo Technologies, LLC (Bamboo Living) design and manufacture structurally certified bamboo homes. Founded in 1995, Bamboo Technologies has produced over 350 homes in Hawaii and around the world. I spoke with founder David Sands about why bamboo is sustainable and a great building material. Bamboo is Sustainable The speed at which it grows is a key reason why Read More …

133: Greenbuilders

Polly Bart loves to get muddy. Despite having an undergraduate degree in architecture and a doctorate in city planning, Polly is not an architect. She’s a builder and founder of Greenbuilders, Inc. She loves creating, lifting rock and building things. In fact, she loves it so much, she can’t understand why everyone doesn’t want to build things! Read More …

How 475 can help you achieve a high performance home

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 …

Back to Earth

After studying chemistry, Chris Brookman completely changed course and went to learn the art of cob house building using traditional techniques with clay. Now Chris supplies modern clay and timber products, including phase change materials, to the building industry through his company Back to Earth. A quick look at the Chris’s website shows where his passion lies… “We Read More …

AURO Eco Paints

When we renovated our house in Christchurch, we wanted to make it warm, comfortable and healthy. Pulling up old carpet to reveal beautiful hardwood timber floors was all the rage, and so was polyurethane. But I’d heard that polyurethane isn’t healthy and this concerned us because we were about to have a baby in the Read More …

Earth Building

When she was 16, Verena Maeder came to New Zealand from Switzerland for a working holiday and fell in love, but not with a kiwi. Verena fell in love with earth buildings. So much so, that she returned to Switzerland and started training as an architect with the specific goal of learning how to design Read More …

Concrete Slab Edge Insulation Update

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 …