Sheep grazing next door contribute to New Zealand’s first Passive House subdivision

Building of New Zealand’s first Passive House-certified subdivision is underway.

The frames are up on the first two three-bedroom homes in the initial 11-stage build in Halswell, Christchurch, with roof framing also on and windows due to be put in.

In the Bushland Park subdivision in Halswell all homes have been designed to meet the super-strict international Passive House standard for energy efficiency.

The project is also focused on sustainable and local, with cladding in Abodo eco-timber (thermally-modified radiata pine), paints from the Natural Paint Company, timber flooring from the Natural Flooring Company, and Terra Lana wool insulation. The wool for the insulation even comes from sheep grazing in the next door paddock.

The houses will have continuous mechanical ventilation with heat recovery, and 6.5kW solar power systems, meaning they should have zero-rated power bills – generating as much electricity as the households consume. Chargers for electric vehicles will be installed on each property.

Builder Peter Bielski, from Ethos Homes, said what he liked about the project was that there was no “green-washing”.“We’re meeting an independent standard. We can say we’ve built to the international criteria for Passive House – it’s not something in-between with a blurry or gray line.”

Bielski established Ethos Homes in 2016, after learning prefabrication methods and working in Passive House construction in Germany. His Christchurch-based company has so far built five certified Passive Houses.

Bielski, wife Amanda Bielski, and their four children aged two, four, six and 10, plan to move from their current home in Mairehau to live in one of the Bushland Park homes to be completed in early 2023. “Our kids love visiting the site, because of the community facilities already built– the playground, flying fox, hoops, hopscotch and just the heaps of room to hoon around,” Amanda Bielski said.

Read the full article here, published in The Press and Stuff, 29 Sept 2021