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Bressay Way – A Certified Passive home

(As featured in Revere Magazine, 2020)
Not everyone is brave enough to tackle a new build with multiple energy-efficiency requirements, but Waikanae builder Mike Craig is. His first ‘Certified Passive’ home, built with Formance structural insulated panels, has a 0.27 ACPH* rating – one of the best in New Zealand. “Well, that was until a guy in Dunedin beat me just the other day!” laughs Mike.

“We are proud of our result, because this was a challenging build that demanded we adhere to strict regulations. This meant I depended on my great team of builders to go the extra mile. You have to have that passion to get it right, and a lot of determination.”

The Passive house design process is an exacting, voluntary standard for achieving energy efficiency. More popular in German and Scandinavian residential construction, it requires architects and builders to apply extra thought to sourcing and utilising materials, and use of durable, eco-friendly building practices. A successful Certified Passive house results in a property that uses far less energy to heat or cool the interior.

With rigorous Passive standard specifications starting from the foundations up, Mike says the soft ground in this private Waikanae closed community was the first challenge. We used driven piles and 98m3 of concrete in the foundations. For insulation, a 100mm floating polystyrene floor with ply was put on top of the concrete. Every aspect of the build required the same level of effort.

An immaculate result, the 254m² property has two bedrooms, a sewing room, a media room, multiple living areas and two garage spaces (50m² and 30m²), one showcasing a distinctive turquoise prism aluminium. Adding ambience as an extension of the interior, a stunning 50m² courtyard has a louvred roof – which can slide to shut out the cold or open to the night sky – and a gorgeous outdoor fireplace.

In addition to this, Mike introduced the ultra-low-energy components of triple-glazed 80mm thick timber/aluminium joinery (which is completely airtight) and exterior mounted automatic blinds that monitor sunlight and stop overheating internally. A state-of-the-art Zehnder heat-exchange unit, with its own plant room, contributes enormously to the energy efficiency of the home. The unit ensures a full change of fresh, clean, filtered air every three hours, allowing the house to ‘breathe’ and ensuring a safe, healthy environment for any allergy sufferers. The ultimate outcome is electricity heating bills that drop below $120 per year.