Glenn Harley is a builder of energy efficient homes in Canterbury. After being attracted to the natural, healthy feel of strawbale construction, Glenn now produces high performance homes with lots of insulation and airtight envelopes. Among his recent achievements is building Christchurch’s first Passive House.
The Cost of Building
Glenn points to the cost of materials, particularly because monopolies and duopolies as being one of the big barriers to delivering good quality homes in New Zealand. Hopefully with more products now coming on the scene, that will start to change.
Our houses are our biggest investment. Yes, a good quality house is going to cost more upfront than a lower quality house of the same size, but if you’re going to live there for 10 years of more, it’s well worth it to you and your family.
Harley Builders are proud of what they do. Call it craftsmanship or attention to detail, but pausing to manage a job well and resolve issues are all part of what’s required to get a great end product.
Finding a Good Builder
When researching builders, Glenn recommends finding out what they’ve produced in the past. Look at photos, or better still, go and visit some of their previous work.
Above all, can you get on with them? You’re going to be involved with your builder for a six to twelve months (or more for a complex build). Communication and trust are therefore incredibly important.
Passive House is Measurable
Glenn’s moved towards Passive House because it works. He’s attracted to the measurability of the Passive House standard, as opposed to ‘green building’.
Constructing a house is going to have an impact on the planet – probably one of the largest impacts you’re going to have. It’s better to focus on producing something that’s going to be energy efficient and healthy in the long term.
First Passive House in Christchurch
The official certification is pending, but Glenn has produced the first Passive House in Christchurch. The home won’t need any mechanical heating or cooling during the whole year. This has already been tested during a record hot day in Christchurch. When it was 36°C outside, it was 23 inside, with no fan or cooling, other than a Zehnder ventilation system.
Harvey Builders had some other innovations in their recent project in Christchurch. Jet Stream MAX from Knauf was installed by Eco Insulation. This product is new to New Zealand, but not a new concept in other parts of the world where they’re much more familiar with high performance homes. I’m excited to see more options like this come to NZ. For more info, check out Jet Stream Max from Eco Insulation.
- Harley Builders producers of Christchurch’s first Passive House
- Greenbuild the mecca of Green Building
- Passive House Institute of New Zealand for more information on what this Passive House thing is all about
- Fantech, New Zealand suppliers of Zehnder ventilation systems
- Proclima high performance wraps and tapes for high performance, healthy homes