Passive Homes Provide Warmth Dry and Healthy Living
In recent months you may have noticed an increase of articles in the news surrounding mould and damp in homes around the country. This damp and mould are often caused by homes not having the right insulation or not having enough of it. In turn, this has led to health issues and in some homes, pretty hefty damage requiring a lot of maintenance and repair.
While changes were made to the NZ Building Standards back in the late 1970s regarding the requirement for insulation in homes, it was only in 2015 when landlords were required to ensure that their rental property met minimum insulation standards after concerns were aired that many of these properties did not provide warm or dry living conditions for NZ families.
What’s Causing Mould in New Zealand Homes?
There are a few reasons why mould is being found in so many homes across the country. The main issue is that many homes are simply prone to it due to poor construction techniques and low standards over the years. Villa style homes often lack insulation and feel a bit cold, while houses built in the ’60s and ’70s and well into the ’90s often suffer from “leaky home” syndrome or essentially being damp.
Another major reason is the lack of ventilation. No one wants to leave their windows and doors open on a cold winter day, but unless you have vents in your home where the air can escape and fresh air can enter, you will only get appropriate airflow by opening doors and windows. On top of this, many residents tend to close up their blinds and curtains during the winter months to make the home seem cosier and warmer. This presents a great opportunity for mould to grow; while sunlight won’t stop mould spores from growing, it can certainly slow down their growth.
What Happens Without Insulation
Without the correct insulation or any insulation at all, houses are cold and often damp. Damp can cause mould on walls, ceilings and furniture, while also causing window frames to rot. On top of this, mould can cause a myriad of health problems that often don’t get picked up quickly. Warm homes – those with adequate insulation – don’t get as much condensation, which means less damp and less mould.
If you are considering building anywhere across the country, there are simple ways to avoid mould and damp issues.
Building a passive or low energy home utilising Nudura Insulated Concrete Forms gives you a home that is energy efficient, stronger, more comfortable and more environmentally friendly than the traditional building methods used in New Zealand. These concrete forms are made from polystyrene that is stacked, (just like Leggo!) and reinforced with steel. Once erected very quickly in any weather conditions they are filed with ready mixed concrete.
The benefits? Nudura concrete walls provide thermal mass, allowing homes to be heated and cooled more effectively, reducing the need for additional insulation to be installed.
If you are planning on building a passive home, or an energy-efficient performing home, we recommend you use an experienced architect and builder who specialise in passive homes. Doing the design and build yourself, or using any architect and builder you come across, opens you up for the risk of causing exactly what it is you are trying to avoid.
Why Build with Insulated Concrete Forms
Apart from not needing to install additional insulation due to building a home with solid concrete walls, there are plenty of other reasons that passive home builders and homeowners choose to go down the path of building with insulated concrete forms including:
- Energy efficiency
- Quick and easy installation
- Airtight building
- Structural strength
- Extended life cycle which equals sustainability
- Superior fire, wind and flood resistance
Nudura has a wide variety of product sizes available for passive home builders, all beating the minimum insulation R-rating required in New Zealand homes.
If you’re considering building a new home in New Zealand, a passive home is a great choice. Have a chat to the team a PhD Builders about passive home designs and how you can build a home that is safe for your family and better for the environment.