In episode 30, I spoke with Elrond Burrell and asked if Passive House (or Passivhaus) was really relevant to some parts of the world. This sparked some great debate and I subsequently caught up with Jon Iliffe of eHaus to find out how to get a passive house in New Zealand.
Jon’s training is in mechanical engineering and his experience includes working with brands like Rolls Royce in Germany. Having worked and lived in Europe, Jon has an interesting perspective on the condition of New Zealand houses.
Jon has witnessed first hand, the improvements in new and existing houses as a result legislation aimed at improving health and comfort while also reducing energy consumption. Higher energy standards during building and airtightness testing are two key factors in achieving better homes across Europe.
At the heart of Germany’s drive to improve housing is the recognition that ultimately everyone will benefit, and as the country continues to grow it’s GDP while actually decreasing overall energy consumption, perhaps the rest of the world should pay attention.
The Problem with our Houses
Jon is surprisingly sympathetic to some of our older housing stock. He makes a good point that many of our houses were built nearly 100 years ago and are therefore a testament to the quality of materials and craftsmanship of their time. The problem is that we haven’t really moved on. We’ve continued to use what we can find locally and haven’t looked at what could be achieved if we learnt from others.
eHaus is New Zealand’s first building company solely dedicated to building homes to Passivhaus standards. Jon’s focus is finding simple solutions that give benefits within the first or second year. He also relies on science to provide the answers for designing healthy homes.
It’s fantastic that eHaus is indundated with demand for people who want to know how to get a Passive House, but Jon acknowledges that large scale change will ultimately rely on improved legislation.
Not Just New
You don’t have to build new to get to Passivhaus standard. eHaus also provide design and consultancy to renovate existing buildings.
Return on Investment
Jon and his team have done the numbers and can prove the benefits of investing more in insulation and quality. But he prefers to ask a far more important question – what is the real purpose of your house?
- eHaus: http://www.ehaus.co.nz/
- Jon’s book recommendation: Insanely Simple, by Ken Segall (Get the Kindle version for only $9.99)
- IPHA: http://passivehouse-international.org/
- PHINZ: http://phinz.org.nz/
- Homestar Training: NZGBC Education Calendar
- WUFI software: http://www.wufi.de/index_e.html
Jon Iliffe is a director of Ecobuild Developments (www.ehaus.co.nz) a company that specialises in Passive House design and building. He is a qualified engineer and a Certified Passive House consultant. He is also a board member of Passive House Institute New Zealand which is a not for profit organisation which promotes education and transfer of knowledge linking in with the International Passive House Association.