Energy Efficient Building Options

Creating a comfortable and healthy living environment where saving costs is a bi-product of comfort and wellbeing

Energy Efficient Building Options

Creating your New Home doesn’t need to be difficult, and it certainly doesn’t need to be stressful! We want you to have an exceptional result and an incredible journey.

Considering an Energy Efficient Home?

Energy efficient options are increasing in popularity for good reason, but ultimately, we want to create a comfortable and healthy living environment, where saving costs is a bi-product of comfort and well-being.

Building an energy efficient home requires expertise in the design and build process.  To achieve the best result a comprehensive design and build package is required.    

You can easily gain a warm comfortable home with great air quality, and ‘even’ temperatures throughout, by applying some key principles. 

  • Insulation
  • Airtightness
  • Thermal Bridges Addressed
  • High Performing Windows
  • Mechanical Heat Recovery Ventilation System

We have broken down the type of home achieved, using the above principles, into three levels to explain the differing options available dependent upon your unique set of circumstances.  This includes your budget, your site constraints, and your family’s priorities.

These are:

Certified Passive House

PHPP & Passive House

Energy Efficient Home

More detail on each level is found below.  

The ultimate high performing home is a ‘Certified Passive House’.  This home has been tested, measured and internationally certified to perform thermally at an extremely high level with known (but little to no) heating and cooling requirements. Cost or design may make this ultimate level prohibitive for some but aiming for the best performance level you can achieve within your personal constraints is always recommended. 

You can still achieve a high performing home, much higher than a minimum build code-built house through employing the same principles.  The benefits will be minimal if, for example, you only tackle insulation levels or windows alone.  The greatest benefits exist when all the above principles, particularly, insulation, air tightness and the MHRV, are addressed as part of a design build package.

Whatever your budget, or design demands, the key is letting your team of builder and designer know your budget, or design demands, so we can work with this knowledge to get you the best performing home for your unique set of circumstances.  House size, simplicity of design, or alternative hardware are a few of the options to consider.

It is important to have the builder and designer involved right from the start.  Your engagement with this level of expertise will ensure you get the performance you are aiming for and that thermal integrity is not compromised through lack of understanding or inexperience in this level of construction.

Key Principles

Insulation

Airtightness

Thermal Bridges Addressed

High Performing Windows

MHRV System

Certified Passive House

A certified Passive House is the ultimate in high performing homes.  The home has been tested and measured and proven to perform to strict international criteria for a ‘Certified Passive House’.  The criteria for heating and cooling loads are 15 kWh/m2 per year, and 10 W/m2 peak demandThis is certainly the ultimate level if wanting a warm, healthy, energy efficient home.  

Certification is approved by the International Passive House Association (iPHA) based in Germany.  PHPP (Passive House Planning Package) is required from the design stage to undertake the measurement of performance.

PHPP provides a scientific analysis of how your house will perform.  This allows any tweaking to the design to be made to meet the certified passive house criteria before the build starts and changes can no longer be made.  It is completed by a specialist PHPP adviser who will provide a report stating what your heating and cooling loads will be.  It will tell you if your house will overheat or be too cold and what areas of the design need to change to provide the desired outcome.  It enables an informed decision to be made and consideration of any additional costs compared to the benefits it may provide.  For example, your PHPP calculations may reveal that you could spend an additional $20k and increase the thickness of your (SIP) panels in order to achieve full passive house certification rather than being just below it.  This is important if you are aiming for certification.  

There are now a couple of accreditors based in NZ.  There is a cost for certification which those passionate about healthy energy efficient living place with pride on their entry door.

These homes have been around internationally for well over 30 years but are relatively new to New Zealand.  However, the demand is gradually increasing with great feedback on their success in New Zealand conditions.

There are even higher levels the iPHA offer, Passive House Plus and Passive House Premium.  Passive House Plus requires sustainability criteria to be reached, for example our Strowan Passive House build installed enough PV panels to allow it to produce more power than it required contributing to it being one of the first to achieve this level in NZ.  

Due to the strict criteria the cost of achieving certification is a lot higher so a good understanding of what it is you want to achieve in terms of levels of comfort and energy efficiency, alongside your budget, is important.  We are happy to discuss this with you in detail and provide examples of our projects to assist.

Strowan Certified Passive House

PHPP and Passive House

We do recommend PHPP testing even if you do not intend to achieve a Certified Passive House.  

PHPP (Passive House Planning Package) provides a scientific analysis of how your house will perform at the design stage, including the heating/cooling demands.  This allows any tweaking to the design to be made to meet your criteria (desired thermal performance) before the build starts and changes can no longer be made.  

It is completed by a specialist PHPP adviser who will provide a report stating what your heating and cooling loads will be.  It will tell you if your house will overheat or be too cold and suggest areas of the design that could produce a better outcome.  It enables an informed decision to be made and consideration of any additional costs compared to the benefits it may provide.  For example, your PHPP calculations may reveal that you need to spend an additional $40k and go to timber windows in order to achieve the same criteria as that of certified passive house rather than being just below it.  This is important if you are aiming for a specific performance level, or you would like the confidence of tangible data showing that the additional investment will provide significant benefit.

The cost to undertake PHPP will depend on the project and the outcome you are trying to achieve but an independent basic package is around $2000 + GST.

PHPP & Passive House Examples

Strowan

SIPS Energy Efficient Home

Rangiora Show Home

SIPs Passive House

Bowenvale Ave

SIPS Passive House

Energy Efficient Home

The same principles for a passive house apply if you choose to build an energy efficient home with us, the exception being that they are not tested and measured through PHPP.  

With the same principles applied your home will still perform and provide you with warmth, comfort, healthy air and energy efficiency.  It’s simply that without the PHPP you don’t have the figures to tell you exactly how your house will perform and therefore you lose the ability to tweak your design to achieve a precise performance level or reach a certain criteria.  

You do have trained and experienced designers and builders, testimonials from those living in these homes and the science behind these key principles to provide confidence that these key principles actually work and provide a much better place to live for you and your family.

Energy Efficient Home Examples

Lyttelton

SIPS Energy Efficient Home

Hanmer Springs

SIPS Energy Efficient Home

Westmoreland

SIPs Pre-Assembly & Install

Which Level for Me?

Your priorities will determine what you are trying to achieve, and if you wish to undertake PHPP or aim for certification.  If you would like to discuss these options further and find out more, then please contact us and we would be happy to cover this in more detail with you.