Ireland (and the world) brings the Passive House Standard to Melbourne Australia – and Australia brings a new Passive House concept to the world!

At an event in Melbourne on 17 September 2014 a highly significant series of passive house connections were announced.

First, Tony Watson from the Box Hill Institute announced the great research they are doing into the Passive House Standard, the results of a research grant given to Susan Morris which enabled her to study energy efficient buildings in Europe, and Box Hill’s sponsorship of the Passive House Academy’s visit all the way from Ireland to Australia.

The Academy is represented by Michael McCarthy who is in Melbourne in September at the invitation of Box Hill Institute, running certified passive house courses for designers and tradesmen.

The Australian Passive House Association was represented by David Power who spoke about the state of passive house in Australia – the Association awaits the first certified passive house which will give it full affiliate status with the International Passive House Institute.

Michael McCarthy gave an expert presentation which was an eye opener to many in the audience. The impact of the Passive House Standard, the technical detail involved to achieve it, and its flexibility to accommodate different building styles was all covered thoroughly.

Fiona McKenzie, Founding Director of Superpod®, then spoke about the design process which led to the innovative Superpod® building system. This system, which was initially inspired by shipping container architecture, is essentially a flat pack fast build concept using an expressed steel frame and sandwich panels. Patent is pending. Fiona noted that while the building process might seem simple, it would not be passive without many many months of comprehensive design work behind the scenes. It was also noted that it is very difficult to get the Passive House standard going in a country which has virtually no available certified passive house components and a lack of experience in the industry.

A sample window in a steel frame was on show provided by Blue Sky Windows (Kommerling) and Structural Challenge.

A blower door test was also arranged by Efficiency Matrix.

The timing could not have been more perfect, as the Superpod® design has obtained passive house design assurance from the same Passive House Academy in Ireland. Not only that, but Tomas O’Leary, Director of that Academy, built the first certified passive house in the English speaking world around 10 years ago! Fiona McKenzie, in fact, met up with Tomas and expert PHPP modeller Bob Ryan in NYC in June, to finalise the modelling of the innovative Superpod® system.

Now it really feels like Ireland is handing the Passive House mantle to Australia.

Box Hill’s invitation to the Passive House Academy gives us a unique opportunity – a physical site visit will ensure that there is a first hand viewing by Michael of the application of the Passive House Standard to the Superpod® podhouse® being built now in the country town of Wonthaggi, 90 minutes from Melbourne, in Victoria. We have made sure that a koala is on hand for the photos!

Superpod® is also in discussions with Box Hill for the enabling of research and study into the Superpod® passive house design.

Superpodhome facebook page has all the progress of the build online – so tune in to see the latest on Superpod®, passive house and general musings on what makes good design and architecture.