Keith Huntington of EcoRate Ltd is a registered architect involved in passive solar design and the objective analysis of buildings using thermal simulation modelling.
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With New Zealand’s commitment to Net Zero Carbon Emissions by 2050, the built infrastructure sector of the economy will have a significant part to play if the target is to be met. The Residential Tenancies (Healthy Homes Standards) Regulations 2019 illustrates the need for lateral thinking.
Windows form an important barrier and connection between the wide outside world and the cosy private environment of the building’s occupants. As the weakest point, attempts have been taken by industry to address the thermal vulnerability of this necessary building element.
With the current shortage of rain in much of NZ, especially in the North, it is appropriate to recognise the long-term change in rainfall patterns and to give serious consideration to having water storage for domestic use at most dwellings.
With the growing acceptance that we must be much more clever with our use of the world’s non-renewable resources, we are well past the time when we can rely on long-standing assumptions, short-term thinking, and Green-wash. Objective assessments are urgently needed.
There are many products in the market each promoting their individual thermal performance, but when incorporated into a building the actual ‘real-life,’ performance becomes dependent upon the interaction of all the materials and products used in the construction.
While in the normal course of events, most newly constructed homes in an urban setting can achieve a 6 Homestar rating, if there is an aspiration for higher ratings, then there is value in looking at where points can be gained at an early stage in the design process.
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