Dear Diary

What is our latest news?  In the world of ground breaking certified passive house work, one of the challenges is for people to understand.  Another challenge is for people to experience.

Maybe experience leads to understanding, at least in part.

We would love for more people to experience the passive house environment: the comfort, the low power consumption, freedom from drafts (in cooler climates), fresh air, relaxing vibe.  It’s true sustainability.  It’s a real attack on climate change.  By experiencing a passive house, you will better understand it.  You will see why it has little to do with how many solar panels you add, or how much thermal mass you include.  You will realise why a drafty building is just uncomfortable, as well as leaking energy constantly.

So in an effort to increase understanding and experience, we will start to talk a little about an exciting development proposed in Tasmania.  A passive house complex.  Something people will be able to visit easily.

This blog will give a little insight into what is involved when you design a passive house.  In our case it is about adapting our pre-existing design.  If you haven’t done a passive house before, you will have to spend months in designing and selecting suitable materials.  We have done all of that, so it will be much quicker to get to building stage. (ps if you would like a passive house building, of any size, we can help you get there now, feel free to contact us!

First, select a site.  Consider the aspect.  Ideally you will face North but you don’t have to do so.  If you are in Tasmania, and your views are to the South, you will have a challenge to design a passive house with too many South facing windows.  We actually have a solution for that, but that’s for another blog.

In our case, the site in question faces North, and the best views are to the North, which is awesome.

Second, start thinking about the design.  If you haven’t done a certified passive house before, you will have a lot of work to do here.  What materials will you use?  Will your suppliers be able to supply data sheets for their products, or will they expect you to trust their guarantees?  What about thermal bridge analysis, who can do that for you?  And who will do drawings in enough detail for proper analysis?

We are talking building physics here, we are talking detail.  Nuts and bolts from the get go.  Not just pretty pictures in a visionary render.  So be prepared for an extensive process here if you are starting from scratch.

We aren’t starting from scratch, we are using our prefab modular design, with details already resolved.

But the third thing you need to factor in is the prevailing climate.  Hot, cold, or mixed?  On this question there is something that hasn’t been done before by us or anyone – a certified passive house in Tasmania.  (Who knows, someone might be designing something there already.  Go for it.)

So we need to buy the climate data from the International Passive House Institute.

And once that arrives, it will be publicly available for anybody.  Just a small public service that the innovators around the world do when passive house is new to a country.

So while we are designing in the background, the data is being prepared in Germany.  Thank you IPHI for helping Australia expand our passive house offerings!

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If you want to change the way you design, purchase and live in buildings, we can help you. If you want comfort and health instead of mould, drafts, high power bills, being too hot and too cold, we can help. If you want your building to be really sustainable, rather than just tacking on a few solar panels, we can help.

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