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House - Nelson

Nelson’s first certified passive house shows the way forward for humanity. Nestled among the forest reserve, the north-facing house overlooks heritage oak trees. Through the air we breathe, birds nesting among the trees, and the fallen leaves which nourish the next year’s growth, all life is intricately connected. Here, the goal was to benefit everyone who shares the planet – to provide a solution for our climate crisis. This is the first New Zealand passive house that used a carbon analysis tool (LCA quick) during the design phase. The resulting embodied carbon of this building is 20kg CO2e/m2 - a mere 4% of the RIBA 2030 Climate Challenge target.

The open-plan living area is filled with natural light. Plywood walls and ceiling, totara kitchen bench, and engineered oak flooring compliment the vibrant colours. All timber for the interior was sourced through FSC certified timber suppliers. New Zealand grown Macrocarpa used for the exterior cladding sits in harmony with the surrounding environment. The entire building was prefabricated in a local factory using locally-sourced LVL timber. The thermal benefit of timber was also clearly seen in this innovative design. Potius developed an exterior wall system that incorporated double offset studs and no nogs - effectively increasing the thermal performance of the wall by over 33%. The building envelope was essentially thermal-bridge free. Adopting a 1200mm module maximised stud-spacing efficiency, and door and window width were adjusted to fit within this module. Light-coloured roof and wall cladding reflect more sunlight and keep the planet cool for everyone. This house showcases that timber is unequivocally superior to concrete and steel in achieving climate goals. 


Basham Builders


Nathan Edmondston, Jerram Tocker Barron Architects