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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For some time now, it has become settled that there is sense in planning for a future where photovoltaic (PV) panels will become a standard feature for new homes and major renovations, even though many owners are not prepared to install them ‘next week’.
Because of their high thermal mass, the thermal insulation of concrete and concrete block walls in dwellings needs to be treated quite differently to those with lightweight framed or panel walls.
The recently released Climate Change Commission’s draft report for public consultation speaks of the need to reduce the domestic use of natural gas and LPG. This, and the inevitable depletion of the resource, will need to influence the way we design the water heating systems for our dwellings.
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.
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