We’re just a regular Kiwi family which, through the violence of nature, a good insurance policy, and our desire to play a small part in looking after the planet, have ended up planning and building a passive house.

In 2010 and 2011 the city we live in (Christchurch, New Zealand) was hit by a series of pretty big earthquakes. The first, a 7.2, was away from the city and we suffered from lost chimneys and cosmetic damage. The third, a 6.3, despite being smaller in magnitude was right under the city and created vertical acceleration never before (or since) seen in any country. It was pretty devastating, and although with some temporary bracing and a lot of tidying our house remained liveable, it was damaged beyond economic repair.

We faced the reality that our 1930s weatherboard villa, which had been in pristine original condition, would have to be replaced with a modern build. As we undertook a few years of protracted negotiation with our insurer over the value of our settlement we also began to look at house designs and building materials. We had never considered building a new house before, so this was entirely new territory for us and we really had no idea what we wanted to build.

The seemingly endless discussions with our insurer were painful and exhausting, but the length of time it took had the upside of giving us the luxury of taking our time with the rebuild decisions. Time that allowed us to learn that an energy efficient building was not a cranky idea and was within our financial reach. The Passive House journey had begun!

This website aims to provide a diary of our journey, starting at the design phase and continuing until we move back in (and maybe beyond with reports on how the reality stacks up against expectations). We plan to share our suppliers and the resources we have found useful. We hope it’s useful and interesting. Thanks for joining us!