Start with Why

Glenn Murdoch is the founder of Vicus Design Group, based in Christchurch.

Glenn Murdoch is a passionate Passive House designer and the founder of Theca, based in Christchurch.

If you’ve listened to more than a few episodes of the Home Style Green podcast, you’ll notice that I like to start with why? My favourite first question to designers and architects is ‘why do you what you do‘?

Simon Sinek – Start with Why

Glen Murdoch is a Passive House designer and innovator, based in Christchurch. He’s been a designer for a while, but didn’t always design with the environment or society in mind. That was, until he watched this TED talk from Simon Sinek

Since watching this inspiring video and reading the subsequent book Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action Glenn has turned his design attention to creating a healthy society.

Glenn’s Top Tips for a Better Place to Live

  1. Find a good designer. Look at their previous work and see if you like they style. And interview them.
  2. Find a good builder. They don’t necessarily need to be an experienced ‘eco’ builder, but they should be willing to listen and learn. Stay away from a builder who is stuck in their way of doing things.
  3. Quality control. Get third party verification as much as possible. (Tools like Homestar are good for this, or ask people to review your plans)

Following on from quality control, Glenn strongly recommends getting a professional to project manager.

Glenn demonstrates that Passive House doesn't have to be plain.

Glenn demonstrates that Passive House doesn’t have to be plain.

Passive Design is Relevant in New Zealand

Passive House Institute of New ZealandAfter listening to Simon Sinek and thinking about the ‘why’ of house design, Glenn realised that he was designing by inputs – number of bedrooms, bathrooms, garage, size etc. These are all things that you put into a house.

Glenn found that designing by Passive House principles was a way to design starting with the outputs – how warm, how healthy, how much control over the ventilation, how expensive to run etc.

Since then, Glenn has been heavily involved in Passive House, helping to establish the Passive House Institute of New Zealand which is hosting the Inaugural South Pacific Passive House Conference in February 2015.

Prefab Solutions

On top of all this, Glenn is doing some exciting work on the prefab front. Watch this space, but you can get some idea here.

Glenn’s Book Recommendation

Kind of goes without saying…

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  • We have the building code and then we have the Leed thingy, that just muddies the waters for those who are looking for live more sustainably. You might have better ideas but then there is the burocracy that will pour cold water your this idea,

    Structure protection is good but not best because you now can build with that protection as structure, yes that what I said Insulation is Structure. http://goo.gl/bpmmmJ

    Building Passive House from wood is not any less expensive, usually its more. As mentioned earlier, change is slow and hard to advance, but savings might be a laxative for progress.