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Thread: "We build cheap in NZ"

  1. #21
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    This just in...your opinions are no more valid than anyone else's.

    Quote Originally Posted by Super_BQ View Post
    Again, I feel like i'm repeating and while my past post has been lengthy, the real issue has nothing to do with how crappy the NZ building code is. The reason is, "Is it warranted for NZ to transform from a passive building design approach to an ACTIVE building design approach that has become the standard in most OECD places???"

    I was born and raised in Canada for most of my life. Have many friends in the building industry there and it's very clear, NZ climate is nothing like Canada. The population of NZ does not experience -40C and +40C every year. When I was attending Uni in Canada, the common complaint I heard from overseas Asian students was the winters and summers were TOO DRY for their precious facial skin. Anyways, just saying the climate is different and has nothing to do with how much insulation houses have. It's ALL to do with the management of indoor ventilation and heating / cooling ; albeit actively or passively.

    IMO, I do not believe NZ is ready to pay the higher cost to go the active design approach. You have an HVAC system that would add an easy extra $50K, then you have to pay probably another $50K to air tight the house. Then you have the higher running cost of these systems. If you look on Google, the carbon foot print of going active ventilation is considerably higher than houses that rely on passive ventilation. NZ's climate quite simply is not that extreme to warrant it. What I see is the media and people are quick to criticize NZ's poor home comfort, but don't understand the impact of the NZ RMA. If we go on a path like they do overseas, then definitely the RMA would have to be changed. But people in NZ enjoy windows that face the sun, 'these passive design approaches' and it explains why streets are not grided in NZ. Because when you go passive design, EACH AND EVERY house can be positioned to face the sun to maximise solar gain. In an active design house, you don't have to care how the house faces the sun (as the heating source from the sun is secondary), and you can build the house very close to each other, and the streets can be gridded for more efficient vehicle traffic flow, concepts like back alleys etc. all come into play when when the houses built don't have to rely on sun orientation. But again, energy costs in NZ are way too high to make these systems affordable. I mean you can say single glazed windows are horrible but really.. what is worse? A highly insulated, sealed air tight house with no mechanical ventilation? or a house with triple glazing but is drafty all over? The 2 building systems are world's apart different. We can't be advising NZ building code to go ie. triple glazing, high R value insulation, WITHOUT ADDRESSING the management of indoor air quality. Everyone that believes they're building a custom home in NZ of higher standard is building nothing different than minimum standard because the single factor that all seem to over look is the installation of mechanical ventilation and / or balanced flow HRVs.

  2. #22
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    All that argument takes no account of any middle road in design. I'm an older European. I hate to feel too cold or too hot, but I also strongly dislike being in a sealed artificial atmosphere. My home, a 200-year-old building adapted and remodernized by the different occupants down the years, gives me choices about when to be sealed in and insulated, and when to welcome outdoor conditions. That is all based on how I FEEL at any particular time, not on figures about what a home ought to need.

    Also, I have a garden around my home, for produce, beauty and leisure. My children used to play, camp out, climb trees etc. there in their young days.

    I love my home. I don't doubt, SuperBQ, that you love yours, too. They're different. We're different people. The vision of houses close together and streets built on a grid system to prioritize traffic is a little boxes nightmare to me, and you probably would look at my set-up in terms of inefficiency.

    Coming back to the matter of the NZ building code, in an ideal world, I would hope ways can be found for people to have their various preferred lifestyles.

  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by JandM View Post
    All that argument takes no account of any middle road in design. I'm an older European. I hate to feel too cold or too hot, but I also strongly dislike being in a sealed artificial atmosphere. My home, a 200-year-old building adapted and remodernized by the different occupants down the years, gives me choices about when to be sealed in and insulated, and when to welcome outdoor conditions. That is all based on how I FEEL at any particular time, not on figures about what a home ought to need.

    Also, I have a garden around my home, for produce, beauty and leisure. My children used to play, camp out, climb trees etc. there in their young days.

    I love my home. I don't doubt, SuperBQ, that you love yours, too. They're different. We're different people. The vision of houses close together and streets built on a grid system to prioritize traffic is a little boxes nightmare to me, and you probably would look at my set-up in terms of inefficiency.

    Coming back to the matter of the NZ building code, in an ideal world, I would hope ways can be found for people to have their various preferred lifestyles.

  4. #24
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    Slight update now that we have a new rental in New Plymouth. Adventures in mold management!

    So we moved into a nice-ish two story place, it looks to me like it was built in the 80s, based on wallpaper and such. Seems to fit the timeline, the owners are retired in the UK. Single glazed windows of course, and a couple of heat pumps - one in the lounge and one in the master bedroom. It's summer, so effectiveness remains to be seen.

    The property manager noted some specks of black mold in each bedroom, on at least two walls each. Cleaners came to scrub it off, and one of them told me that they'd removed everything on the surface, but it had clearly rooted into the wallpaper, and the only way to get rid of it would be wallpaper replacement. He advised I bring it up as a health hazard, and ventilate very well in the meantime, because window condensation helps the mold have a nice moist environment.

    So, the property manager was a bit flabbergasted as there had never been mold in the home with any tenants before the last ones, and said it was likely from bed linens being right up against the wall, and not keeping the windows cracked. (There is a special setting on some NZ windows that allows them to lock in a cracked position, as Kiwis are evidently expected to ventilate almost all the time for this very reason). She spoke to the cleaners and the owners, and it was decided that we should just ventilate.

    Now if it was my home, I would be tearing things out, because the last thing I would want would be for the mold to spread unseen below the surface. But whatever, that's their call. One more motivation to get residency soon so we can buy our own place.

    Okay, so ventilation is well and good in the summer, but I've already experienced window cracking in New Plymouth during the winter, because of the lack of bathroom fans in the other house. It noticeably sucks away the heat you've managed to build up, and leaves you vulnerable to gusts.

    Double glazing would mitigate most of the problem, in my opinion! And it would also make it less of a sacrifice to let out a little air for ventilation now and then, since it would be much easier to reheat the home afterwards.

    I hope we don't have to build our own home to get what we need!

  5. #25
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    If you don't have them already, I strongly suggest dehumidifiers to run in the affected rooms. To use these was recommended by our NZ relatives when we lived in a borrowed house in NZ in the winter - we'd never seen them in action before - and it is amazing to see the amount of liquid that they take out of the air. And once the air is drier, the place doesn't feel as cold.

  6. #26
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    Yep, we definitely should once it gets too be too cold for ventilation! Good tip. That would mean at least three dehumidifiers and finding outlets, but probably worth it.

  7. #27
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    Oh and I should add that the property manager has been just lovely about all other repairs. Itís more like a cultural difference with the ventilation expectations. Also worth mentioning that you hardly ever see bug screens, lol...

  8. #28
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    Also, if you run a dehumidifier after you've had a bath or shower, it takes care of steam which tends to spread outside the room, even if there's an extractor fan in the bathroom. And did you ever see this old post? https://www.enz.org/forum/showthread...674#post429674

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