Build­ing to­wards pas­sive hous­ing plan

Matamata Chronicle - - Out & About - CAITLIN MOORBY

Julie and Ross Brown say the fu­ture is in pas­sive homes.

The cou­ple own Brown Con­struc­tion Ltd, which holds the only eHaus li­cence in the re­gion - eHaus is the lead­ing New Zealand provider of pas­sive house de­sign and build ser­vice.

These homes con­sume 75 to 90 per cent less en­ergy than con­ven­tional homes, but they cost 15 to 20 per cent more to build.

‘‘We are build­ing houses that are not only go­ing to serve the peo­ple we are build­ing for, but also im­prove the hous­ing stock in New Zealand by sav­ing money and per­form­ing re­ally well for a long time,’’ Julie said.

Brown Con­struc­tion, a fam­i­ly­owned busi­ness, was es­tab­lished in 1997 and un­til a few years ago built only con­ven­tional homes.

‘‘We re­ceived the eHaus li­cence in 2014,’’ Julie said. ‘‘Things were quiet for a while, but ev­ery­thing is re­ally gear­ing up now.

‘‘Peo­ple are be­com­ing more en­ergy con­scious and are a lot more pre­pared to think long-term when build­ing.

‘‘It’s a so­cial pres­sure as well, for bet­ter hous­ing stock in New Zealand and the gen­eral aware­ness that New Zealand is ac­tu­ally a lit­tle bit be­hind what is hap­pen­ing over­seas.’’

The com­pany still builds con- ven­tion homes and is yet to com­plete its first pas­sive house, but has three un­der way.

‘‘On­go­ing en­ergy sav­ing is the ob­vi­ous ben­e­fit from pas­sive homes, but an­other ma­jor is the in­door air qual­ity – it’s so much bet­ter.’’

The in­door air tem­per­a­ture stays be­tween 20 and 25 de­grees Cel­sius year round.

That gives you a much dryer, health­ier home, Julie said.

‘‘The house is air­tight, a venti- la­tion sys­tem sup­plies fresh, fil­tered air into all liv­ing ar­eas. In the Waikato, this is a huge thing for al­lergy suf­fer­ers, as it takes out any pol­lu­tion and pollen from the air in the home.

‘‘Pas­sive hous­ing has given us an en­tirely new ap­proach for our busi­ness and we are see­ing re­ally quickly we will be mov­ing into do­ing only eHaus work.

‘‘It gives us a point of dif­fer­ence and some­thing to of­fer cus­tomers that the av­er­age build­ing com­pany in the phone book doesn’t.’’

MARK TAY­LOR FAIR­FAX NZ

Waikato build­ing com­pany Brown Con­struc­tion Lim­ited are mak­ing a move to­wards pas­sive hous­ing. Own­ers Julie and Ross Brown be­lieve the homes are a health­ier, bet­ter qual­ity and will save their cus­tomers money in the long run.

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