ArchiPro recently published an article titled “Building without heating: how to build healthy, comfortable homes with virtually no heating”.
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The article by the ArchiPro Editorial Team discusses why high-performance homes should be the standard for all homes in NZ. This is especially true to places in New Zealand with extreme temperatures, such as ‘hot ‘n’ cold’ Otago, wind-prone Wellington, and sweaty Auckland.
Here is a glimpse of what they are trying to say:
• Cosy, healthy homes can be built quite simply by using high insulation, passive thermal performance, good cross ventilation and clever extraction of internal moisture – and, in many parts of the country, we can do it naturally through good design, rather than using costlier mechanical alternatives.
• Building wraps for airtightness can also positively affect the performance of modern buildings. “They get the building where you need to get to faster,” say Sian and Mark. “Basically, it changes the whole equation for relatively low cost, and creates a healthier building.”
• Many architects agree that New Zealand’s regulations regarding the performance of our homes need to be dramatically improved to be in line with many international standards.
• “Ultimately, it affects those most vulnerable – who have no choice but to live in New Zealand’s poor housing stock, which is still being built every day because our Building Code is so weak and not at all linked to climate. There is no excuse because the software, knowledge and systems are available to design to climate; other countries do it, many people in New Zealand do it, so the government should change the code. Without a change, we will continue to create unhealthy buildings, which affects all of society and, ultimately, costs us all through our health system.”
• Orientate the home to gain the most from the sun when you want it and avoid the sun when you don’t, such as when it’s too hot or too low in the sky. Where possible, you limit openings on the south of where you might create a liability for yourself. For example, in Central Otago, where we have long, hot days in the summer, a house that is west facing with large areas of glass will be a liability in the summer if it’s not properly managed through external shading devices, as it will overheat.
• A colder climate calls for compact design and a highly insulated envelope, whereas a long, north-facing configuration optimises the amount of passive heating throughout the day, so the majority of the living spaces and glazing are to the northern side of the house, with services residing in the south. Being aware of the potential heat loss of an irregular building envelope is also at the forefront of our design approach.
• In each different climate, all that’s needed is a change to the necessary components in the construction to achieve the same level of comfort and low energy, suggest Sian and Mark. “If you are in a mild climate, you need less insulation or lower quality windows but, if you are in a very cold or very hot climate, you need more insulation and either better quality windows or better shading, or both.”
In today’s technological, resource-filled world, there is no excuse for New Zealand homes to be damp, cold or drafty. Even in the hottest, coldest and most humid regions of New Zealand, energy-efficient and comfortable homes can be built with minimal heating and cooling required.
Do you have the conviction of upgrading your home into a high performance home? The Heating Company, a 100% NZ born-and-bred local company, is here to make your home dry, healthy, and comfortable. We have supplied heating and heat recovery ventilation for over 25 years for Kiwi homes. And we only supply products that fuse function and efficiency along with the latest technology at a price that won't break the bank. Contact us now for a free quotation.