Tag: construction

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Why our 9+ Star Superpod® House Barely Reaches 7 NatHERS Stars

PodMarket South Elevation Dwg

Why our 9+ Star Superpod® House Barely Reaches 7 NatHERS Stars.

This is the street frontage of an old house, showing a Superpod® house extension going up soon (peeking out from behind) in an old established part of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. The house at the front is very old. In fact, the houses in this street are 130 years old.

The Superpod® house extension at the back is over 200 sqm with 2 storeys, 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, kitchen, dining, and 2 lounges. You won’t see it much from the street. It’s the shaded orange part in this image.

The extension, if it was rated under the NatHERs energy rating scheme, would be a 9 star house.

Sounds good, but we think it’s better than that. That’s because the NatHERS scheme doesn’t fully recognise all the benefits of our certifiable passive house system. Like the performance of our fully imported windows. Or our thermal breaks. Or our airtightness.

Check out one of our previous stories on this: NatHERs star rating doesn’t test airtightness

But, alas, we can barely reach 7 stars with this whole building. That is, taking into account the old house together with the super performing extension. Retrofitting the old 1890’s house at the front isn’t going to make it easy. It faces south. It’s got single glazed windows. And insulating the poor old walls will be a trick.

But let’s focus on the good part. We are facing climate change head on. We are providing optimum comfort and health. We are loosening the hold of the ever growing power bill. All this without solar panels. It’s the good building that counts. Jewellery on the roof doesn’t replace decent clothing in the fabric of the building.

PS Our Superpod® system is a fast, easy way to achieve the world’s best practice for energy efficiency and comfort. The International Passive House Standard. Our patent pending system (United States next, here we come!) is available for licence to designers, developers and builders. From tiny pods to high rise and commercial buildings.

I know, it’s hard to get your head around. Licensing a building system? After years of developing our IP we think it’s worth it. Innovation is often hard to get your head around. We look forward to co-innovators who want to work with us!

2D South Elevation Drawing
2D South Elevation Drawing
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Australian High Rise Buildings Should Cut Glazing by at Least 50%

Melb CBD

Australian high rise buildings are inefficient.  They do not run efficiently.  They are not comfortable enough.  They waste energy.  They contribute to climate change.

The latest, state-of-the-art high rise office buildings I have visited, get too hot and too cold.  In one room you try to work, stifling in the Western sun. There’s no relief except for airconditioning, which is too cold and too erratic. The next room is cold as it faces South.  You are uncomfortable standing or sitting next to the glass in either room for much of the year.

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Beware “Greenwashing” Buzz Words like Net Zero and Carbon Offset

 

greenwashing

Increasingly, we hear claims that buildings are “green” or sustainable, with carbon neutral impacts and the like.

 In the recent past, these terms were optional add-ons for an interested few, but now it seems to be essential for many companies to be seen as green, eco, or sustainable.However, what do companies mean when they claim to be sustainable, or their buildings are net zero, or their activities attached to a carbon offset? It can be confusing, as these terms are fluid, or appear to be coined on the run, without a unified definition. And it gets even more confusing when we have a variety of certification and rating systems which apply sustainability “stars” to our buildings.

Let’s look at the terms “net zero” and “carbon offset,” starting with some popular definitions courtesy of Wikipedia, the font of all dictionary-type knowledge.

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Tassie Energy Crisis Shows Passive House Is Relevant in Australia

 

architecture

Finally, we got inside the very first certified passivhaus in the world.

 I first saw the outside of this house, the home of Dr Wolfgang Feist, founder of the International Passive House Institute, a number of years ago on a trip to Darmstadt, Germany. That’s when I first started examining the Passive House Standard in detail.I didn’t know then how assertive and groundbreaking this standard is.

I didn’t know how different it was from the way we build in Australia. I knew it was different – but I didn’t know by just how much.

I didn’t know how resistant people can be to change, even change for the better.

I didn’t know how many times I would hear the phrase “passive house is not relevant in Australia.”

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When to Renovate, When to Demolish

 

question mark

When your current building stock is a little tired, how do you decide whether to renovate or demolish and rebuild?

 We are often faced with these decisions in relation to both commercial and residential buildings.Clearly, a large factor in the decision making process is the comparative cost of each option.

It is not always easy to predict the comparative costs, particularly when the real cost of a renovation will not be known until you start removing layers of the building. What will you find underneath that plaster? Mould, rotten timbers, termites?

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Are Modern Buildings a Case of “The Emperor’s New Clothes”?

Some of us grew up with Hans Christian Andersen children’s stories.

property developer

Some of us grew up with Hans Christian Andersen children’s stories.

One of my favourites is The Emperor’s New Clothes. At the risk of losing the poetry of a well-translated version of this story, the summarised version as seen on Wikipedia is as follows:

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