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Sunday, July 22, 2012



The Owners have now moved into the house.  Landscaping is underway, and finishing touches within the house continue.  Joinery fitments, electrical and sanitary fitments have been installed. 
The blog will continue, but with less frequent entries.  A professional photographer will provide final photos of the finished Passive House.  

There are some items in this house that are not essential to Passive House requirement, and are of the house owners personal choice e.g. the fireplace, photovoltaic energy generation and concrete-block walls.  The additional requirements for a Passive House is probably 10-20% more expensive than a standard build. Over time this cost will reduce as materials become more readily available, and builders become more familiar with the techniques involved. But, the ongoing lack of cost in energy consumption and personal comfort and well-being more than compensates for the initial investment in building.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Rainwater is collected from the roof, via spouting / guttering which discharges into vertical downpipes that are run to storage tanks supplied by 'Marley'.  'Marley' diverters to prevent the ingress of debris that may be collected along the way, are fixed to outlets in the downpipe prior to the water reaching its destination - the green storage tanks.



Hot water is supplied to the house from an external heat pump, which is strapped to the structure for stability, to meet NZ seismic requirements.   The STIEBEL ELTRON WWK 300A Heat Pump works through utilising the ambient air temperature (thermal energy) and converting this to usable energy to create hot water. A heat pump essentially works in a similar way to a refrigerator, only in reverse. The only primary
energy used in this process to heat water, is to run the compressor and fan. The advantages of this technology is in the benefit of being able to generate up to a 68% hot water energy use saving when compared to an electric storage hot water system.

Thursday, June 14, 2012


Now that the scaffolding has been removed, machinery can be introduced to the site to dig trenches for service drains around the house. Connections will be made to the local sewer drain, electrical and water provider, and the storm-water will be drained to a collection tank for use on-site. The drain trenches are machine dug where possible, and once the pipework is laid, scoria is placed into the trench around the pipes.

Storm-water cesspit base 

The hole at the rear of the house for a storm-water collection tank

Friday, June 1, 2012

Previous posts on the elements that form the building envelope, have shown Intello humidity variable airtightness membranes.  The management of the membrane has needed to be considered to position it in the correct place on the inner face of the construction.  Once the insulation is all in place, the membrane is taped sealing all joins. Once complete, the building is closed up and a blower-door test is undertaken to ensure the building meets the criteria for airtightness required by Passivehouse standards.  Note that all services the penetrate the membrane are taped to ensure airtightness.

The blower door

Previous blower door tests have not quite met the requires air change per hour (ac/h) required to meet the  minimum Passive House standard of 0.6ac/h, so a few  adjustments are made to address the building envelope.  Additional blower tests are done until this is achieved.
A ply panel with seals for the blower fan is fitted into the internal garage door that provides direct access to the house entry foyer .

Fitting of the panel for the blower door can be seen in the garage.

The fan unit

Thursday, May 24, 2012


Wet areas within the house have water-proofing membranes applied.  The walls have user -friendly and environmentally safe 'duroSET' - which is a single pack latex membrane waterproof membrane  applied prior to the tiles being installed.

Gibralter Board ('GIB® Board') is a gypsum and paper board, commonly used to line walls and ceilings.  The GIB®  range of products can also provide for wet areas, bracing, noise reduction.  'GIB® Board'  has been fixed to 'Rondo' galvanised steel battens applied to both walls and ceiling to minimise thermal bridging.  The board is fixed horizontally to maximise sheet lengths, and reduce the number of joints that need to be plastered.
 It will be plaster finished ready for a paint finish.

The Rondo Battens are installed vertically, with timber boards along the bottom edge fixed bottom plate of the timber framed wall to minimise bridging meanwhile providing for fixing of the bottom edge of the GIB® plaster board wall lining panels.  Fibreglass 'Batts' are fitted between the battens of the walls of the buildings external envelope. The grey protrusion provides for future grilles for the HRVS system.

Withing the large ceiling of the Living Area, movement joints have been allowed, hence the wider gap between the GIB® plaster board lining the ceiling.  The perpendicular slot provides for a lighting track.

It can be seen in the picture above that the wall linings now cover the concrete block walls at the end of the Living Space.

The main bedroom has a higher density GIB plaster board lining
 on the ceiling for additional sound-proofing.

Holes are cut into the wall linings to enable services to be introduced 
into the room space from within the wall cavities.

The plaster wallboard lining panels have their joins and fixings plastered over, and sanded ready for a paint finish.  Resene paints are applied specific to individual situations.