Walking the talk in a Passive home

Ask Brent Chatterton if the homeowner is happy with his new build and he laughs. “It was a show home for our business, and we were going to leave it open to the public for six months.” Then came COVID-19 and lockdown. “It made sense to move in.” Brent and his team at Chatterton Builders have built Passive homes – designed to be airtight and energy-efficient – for years, but this is the first time he has lived in one. “It’s important that we walk the talk.”

Structural insulated panels line the roof and walls of this modern Rangiora house. Inside, 265m² of space beautifully accommodates all the other elements required for a certified Passive house, including thermal comfort, triple-glazed windows, airtightness, and a mechanical heat recovery/ventilation unit.

The handsome COLORSTEEL® and cedar exterior are welcoming, while interior design elements add personality and style. The entryway features a locally-grown-eucalyptus ceiling and an enormous vinyl mural of the Heaphy Track. The natural world also takes centre stage in the spacious kitchen with timber-covered island and ceilings. Concrete floors gleam in the lounge, and forest-green tiles shine behind the master bathroom’s sleek, modern tub. Beyond beauty, the home’s showstopper is comfort. “The indoor temperature sits between 20 and 25 degrees and the indoor air quality is extremely high. Nobody fell sick in winter,” says Brent.

Brent says Passive construction costs 15-20 percent more than a house built to minimum code standards. However, he expects to recoup savings through much lower utility bills. “When you look at the life cycle, running cost, and health benefits, these homes are definitely cheaper in the long run.”

Location: Rangiora | Canterbury

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