153: Simple is the New Smart Home

What makes a ‘smart home’? Paul Dowsett and his team at Sustainable.To are dedicate to creating affordable, healthy and energy efficient homes, because that’s what Paul believes is ‘the right thing to do’. I think that a pretty good definition for a ‘smart home’. And the best way to achieve it? Keep it simple. Simple Read More …

148 Designing for your climate

Graham Hunt goes into a lot of detail when researching the local climate that will impact the comfort of a home. Designing for your climate includes an analysis of both the macro – the temperature, rainfall and humidity of the region, but also the micro – the local wind, shading and exposure of a particular site. Read More …

136: Thermal Mass Is Not That Useful

I recall visiting one of the fist 8 Homestar homes in Christchurch and being surprised that this new show home had a suspended timber floor. The double layer of insulation gave the floor a very impressive R-value, far better than any concrete floor slab I’d seen recently. All well-and-good, I thought. But thermally, surely it couldn’t be Read More …

114: Passive Solar Design

Peter Olorenshaw has been developing his passion for passive solar design for over 21 years in Nelson, one of New Zealand’s sunniest spots. While he does practise architecture elsewhere, like his designs, he prefers to keep it local. Passive Solar Design Peter’s tips for designing a good home include: Location – it’s hard to retrofit good Read More …

Designing Environmentally Functional Homes

Duncan Firth feels ‘compelled’ to do what he does – designing environmentally functional homes. He’s very conscious of humans taking more than giving from our environment and he sees the potential for architecture to be a positive influence in correcting this balance. Responding to the Environment Many architects (and people writing about houses) talk about buildings Read More …

How big should eaves be?

Eaves are the classic case of form following function. In this podcast I lay out my three key reasons for having them, but a key question is, ‘how big should eaves be?’ Why have eaves? Radiation – They help shade you and your home from the summer sun, while still allowing light and warmth in Read More …