Matthew Cutler Wesh: [00:00:00] Welcome to The Passive House Podcast, brought to you by Passive House Accelerator, a catalyst for zero carbon building. For news, inspiration, and connections from all flavors of passive house, check out passive house accelerator.com. Sign up to receive regular updates about events, get your technical questions answered, and contribute to the community forum.
There’s loads of free information for experienced professionals and people just starting out on their passive house journey. We hope to see you at one of our construction tech or weekly global passive house showcase webinars. In the meantime, here’s this week’s passive house podcast.
Oh, welcome back to The Passive House Podcast. I’m Matthew Cutler Wesh coming to you from Auckland in New [00:01:00] Zealand.
Zach Ske: I’m Zach Ske coming to you from Seattle, in Washington state.
Matthew Cutler Wesh: I’ve just been out in the rain this morning, but it’s getting warm here, so we’re getting warm humid in here in Auckland to be into spring.
Now. How are things in your part of the world?
Zach Ske: Dreary. Yeah, we we’re getting What about the weather right now? Yeah. Exactly. And the weather’s not great either. The we have a El la Nina. We have a La Nina pattern happening weather pattern, which means for the Pacific Northwest means that we’re, we’ll have a very wet and cold winter, which is great.
We need, we have reservoirs that need to be filled and a drought that needs to be washed away. I guess it’s actually that’s a little bit too literal that, we’re getting some crazy rainstorms in California that are actually washing away a [00:02:00] bunch of land that was just burnt during the fires. But on balance, it’s great to have this. Crappy weather.
Matthew Cutler Wesh: Bit rain. Yes. Yeah, I’ve actually, my wife’s been begging me to get some rainwater tanks because we’ve just come out of a period of drought and no doubt we’ll be going back into one. And it’s a bit of a shame to not be capturing some of the rain that is falling at the moment just to increase our resilience and also sustainability.
The other thing, interesting thing that’s happening, I’ve mentioned this prior, I think we’ve talked about it. But we’ve had some schools go back here in Auckland this week post our most recent lockdown, a lot of discussion about ventilation. And one person that I know from Atago University was on the radio last week making a comment that Based on some, a limited amount of research.
One study found that a lot [00:03:00] of our classrooms have a ventilation rate, which is less than half of the recommended rate of ventilation for for a building. Which is quite pretty staggering. I think that’s staggering for two reasons. One, it’s ‘cause that’s a terrible statistic, but the other is just how much, how little information we know about that because we don’t tend to measure ventilation very well.
So suddenly there’s a big interest in things like carbon dioxide, meters inside classrooms and how to encourage teachers to open windows. ‘cause we don’t have ducted ventilation systems either. But we need to start with the basics of just making people aware of the. Benefits of ventilating indoor
Zach Ske: spaces in indeed. And I think maybe I’ve mentioned this before in the podcast, but archetype, the UK based designer of lots of passive houses and a leader in school [00:04:00] design, has some great and pacify schools. Yeah, pacify schools. Exactly. Yeah, exactly. Has some great statistics from monitoring their buildings and compared to conventional school buildings and just really dramatic.
Improvement that the passive house schools are seeing in air quality. And c o two is, c o two is being used as a proxy for general indoor air quality. And and yeah,
Matthew Cutler Wesh: that helps things like I don’t know.
Zach Ske: Learning. Exactly right. They have, they’re showing numbers way over 1500 parts per million of c o two inside.
Yeah. And it’s just, you can’t you become impaired. Yeah. You’re you, and so it’s bad for learning. It’s bad for, and then of course, it’s bad for Covid and there, there’s, I think they’re called ANet meters, the portable c o two meters. Yeah. I’m seeing more and more on, on social media people.
Posting photos of their meter [00:05:00] in different places. So Mark Sal or Sal yep. Just posted one, I think maybe he was on a boat. I think he was on a ferry maybe. Or trans go, going on a trip looking at some good numbers on the ferry. I saw somebody else showing really scary number at the airport gate. Oh. '
Matthew Cutler Wesh: cause the internet ones are wireless. You can just pull, just whip them out test, wherever you aren’t they?
Zach Ske: Exactly. Yeah, exactly. I’ve heard about it. Yeah. I’ve heard stories of parents putting them in their kids’ backpacks too. Yeah. Check out what’s going on at school. So I’m really, I. We have a monitor at home, but not an ANet it’s an awareness and it’s wired. So I can’t send that one, but I
Matthew Cutler Wesh: have a, you we’re gonna, we’ll do some name dropping now. We should get some of these guys on board as as sponsors. I have a Yahoo.
Right here. And recently they’ve added a covid index onto their interface. Interesting. So you can actually, interesting. It gives [00:06:00] you score of your risk profile. I dunno how accurate
Zach Ske: it is, but it’s interesting, some sort of algorithm based on the different metrics that they measure. Yeah. Somehow. Yeah. Yeah.
Matthew Cutler Wesh: Interesting. Anyway let’s let’s talk about our real sponsors. Yes, absolutely.
Zach Ske: And thank. Everything we do at the Accelerator comes thanks to our sponsors. So a big thank you to our founding sponsors, 4 7 5 high performance building supply backed GUI architects, gravel, foam glass, gravel, aire, all in one HVAC and dehumidification units.
Mitsubishi Electric Train, hvac us. Tel R D H Building Science, Rockwell North America, stoke Corp, and Zola Windows. Our champion sponsors are Icon, windows and Doors and ciga, and our stakeholder partner is nyserda, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority. So thank you sponsors.
Matthew Cutler Wesh: All right now I had a [00:07:00] chat with Luke ett, who is a certified passive house designer based in Perth.
He originates from the uk. He trained as an architect at the University of Wolver Hampton, and caught up with him or a couple of months ago now. It was great chat. One of the things that we discuss in this interview, which we, I think I’ve mentioned previously when I’ve talked to other, Architects working in Australia is Nat, hers, which might sound slightly different Luke’s Great accent.
Nat, hers is the, it’s short for the National Home Energy Rating Scheme, and it’s a. It is what? It’s what it says or at least it tries to be. It’s a star system which is required for houses in all across Australia where you have to get it rated. It’s a fairly basic rating. And [00:08:00] Luke gives a little bit of critique of it.
And I think the more people get into passive house, the more. Critical they are of things like Nat, hers, because it is fairly cursory in terms of when you compare it to something like P H but it’s part of the everyday vocabulary for anyone involved in the building industry in Australia as a metric for Yeah, just energy performance really.
And it’s a fairly low standard on the scheme in the scheme of things, but it is fairly well recognized. So that’s that’s nat hers. I don’t, I think, was it, was there anything else that we needed to cover off?
Zach Ske: Like linguistically glossary? No, I think that was the, that was it.
Matthew Cutler Wesh: That, all right. Let’s get into it. This is my interview with Luke Kellett Design Group from Kellett Design Group Design in Australia.[00:09:00]
Luke Kellett: All right,
Matthew Cutler Wesh: Let’s let’s jump into it. Luke, thank you for your time and for joining us on the show today. It’s great to have a chat.
Luke Kellett: Thank you, Matthew. Thank you for having me. Excited to be on here. Good.
Matthew Cutler Wesh: Let’s start out with how you got into design in the first place. What what brought you into becoming a
Luke Kellett: designer? Oh, becoming designer. This is going back to when I was about 16. I was lucky enough to have a a technical drawing teacher that I. I really got along with, and I just really enjoyed the technical drawings and went to the school or my secondary school career guidance counselor. And yeah, he told me architecture is the way to go.
So luckily he just told me one option and I took it and here I am. Awesome. Very happy
Matthew Cutler Wesh: with [00:10:00] what I do. Yeah. And I’m picking that wasn’t in Perth or
Luke Kellett: Australia. No, this was back in a little town called Carrick CROs in, in county Monaghan in Ireland. And
Matthew Cutler Wesh: so you did architecture, you went to, to was it university or technical
Luke Kellett: college. I did indeed. I studied for five years, so I have a degree in architectural design. I studied in Dublin for th three years. Then I moved across to Wolver Hampton in the UK for further two years. And
Matthew Cutler Wesh: what was the, paint us a picture of what the scene was like in the industry then in terms of, The market, how things were going, but also the appetite for anything to do with energy efficiency.
Luke Kellett: Ireland, I feel, and maybe parts of Europe is [00:11:00] definitely ahead of the game when we’re comparing to the to Australia. I. My appetite for that actually started in the very early stages of study in university because a lot of the course info was actually focused on there was portions of our classes focused on sustainability.
So that’s something that really grabbed my attention. Yeah. When I finished university I started up my own energy company as an energy assessor in Ireland. Doing energy ratings on new bills, homes for sale, needed an energy assessment and homes for rent needed energy assessments in Ireland.
So there’s quite a high demand at that time for it. So I felt like it was a really good a really good option to get into.
Matthew Cutler Wesh: So is that part of the requirement for energy performance certificates when you buy or sell or rent a house?
Luke Kellett: Yeah. Yeah. Very interesting. [00:12:00] Yes it is in Ireland and in UK and possibly parts of Europe.
Any home for sale or rent needs to have a performance certificate. So you can see how it rates on a scale of one is the, one is sorry it’s actually letters in, in Europe. I think it’s A to g. Very similar to star rating in Australia. And you can see it’s like an open book. Okay. This house performs at X Stars or X letter.
It’s very transparent. Yeah. That caused a lot of issues initially in Ireland because the yeah. I can only speak for Ireland because that’s where I’ve got the experience. Houses unfortunately were devalued if they were rated at a, let’s say an E or a G, which is very low end of the scale. Compared to your your new homes.
Matthew Cutler Wesh: Yeah. I’ve heard mixed things about the [00:13:00] energy performance certificates and those ratings. Do you think they worked?
Luke Kellett: Are we talking about Australia? Are we talking about let’s start with Europe first. Now my experience is that there probably wouldn’t be a huge difference in what you would model in the home versus real life experience because often the assessments was completed after construction.
Especially the homes for sale or rent. So you would go into the dwelling, actually identify what thickness of insulation, identify in specific if you had a an oil burner for central heating. Identify the model and the age of it. So you are getting accurate results based on the actual model that you’re seeing, not.
Let’s say, for example, a proposed model that may be installed in construction, but might’ve [00:14:00] been swapped out to a cheaper model
Matthew Cutler Wesh: later on, right? So it’s not, it doesn’t consider behavior. It’s just what the structure of the house is and what is available to keep
Luke Kellett: it warm. True building components, and the actual heating system was also a huge had a huge impact on the performance.
For example, if you had a condensing boiler, which is a fairly efficient boiler, you would get quite a big jump in your performance, versus if you had a non-condensing or just a standard boiler, you would see a big difference. ‘cause obviously you’re going to consume more fossil fuel and
Matthew Cutler Wesh: you mentioned Australia also has a energy rating scheme for houses.
How do you rate that rating scheme?
Luke Kellett: How do I rate the rating scheme now? I don’t wanna shoot myself in the four. You can say we be honest. I’m a I’m in not [00:15:00] here assessor myself. Yeah. So I see. I luckily I see both sides of this and I, when I say both sides, I see. Onsite construction.
I see what I model or what the capabilities of that software is. And then I see the P H P from from passive house. So I can see and compare. And this is my own personal opinion the various, let’s say options or input that you can put into each particular software. If we’re gonna compare softwares let’s say the Nat Hair software and the P H P, I would say the input is very primitive.
There’s not a huge amount of let’s say, data that you would input. Now, I’m not a software engineer, so I’m assuming that a lot of that work is done in the background with algorithms from the designers of the software, especially for Nat Hairs. When we compare that to, let’s say the P H P, there’s [00:16:00] so much data that you that you put into the P H P P.
I’ve done the course, I’ve done a separate course. With design b H and P H P and when you compare both Yeah, there’s a big difference. There’s a big difference in the detail that you input, yeah. The output. I’ve been quite surprised sometimes with the output they can be quite similar sometimes.
Again I, with the P H P, I don’t really fully understand what happens in the background. Same with the the Nat Hair software, but sometimes we actually get a similar output, which is surprising considering the data you input. Yeah.
Matthew Cutler Wesh: It’s fair to say that they’re designed for different things. The hers a home energy rating scheme is there’s got to be simple enough to be done by enough people to cover the whole country, because it’s a [00:17:00] requirement, for new builds.
Luke Kellett: Yeah. Correct. Yeah. Every new bill needs to meet a minimum of six Star and Harris rating. What was it that brought you to Australia? I. The very interesting one as well. Probably about a week before I came to Australia, I was actually heading for Canada, and then I found out that turned, you, turned the wrong way. Yeah, definitely for the climate.I’ve got some family.
My sister lives in Calgary and I found out that it gets to like minus 30 in winter, so I thought. I’m not sure if I can handle that. So yeah, literally just decided a week before we came here to change our mind. We were, myself and a friend, friend myself and two friends were in construction.
Perth had a decent amount of work availabilities for us, and yeah, came straight to Perth, stayed here. And then what did
Matthew Cutler Wesh: you think about the houses when you arrived? [00:18:00]
Luke Kellett: Yeah, that, that was a bit of an embarrassing learning for me, I have to say, because I got a job in an architect’s office and I was detailing my first house.
I was doing a section, so the plans were already approved through through planning and I was doing the building permit documentation. I ran a section through the building. I was looking at the building thinking, am I missing some layers? Are my layers turned off? Here we’ve got a 50 mil cavity and there’s no insulation, so embarrassing enough, I had to go to my boss, which is my, like my second day of work.
I. And ask them what’s wrong with the walls? Yeah. Where’s all the rest of it? Yeah. Obviously in, in just comparing to Ireland, we would have maybe a hundred or even now 150 mil cavity with a hundred mil of insulation in there. Yeah. I’m coming here and learning very fast, I have to say, where we have a 50 mil cavity and still often no insulation.
Yeah. Big learning curve for me. [00:19:00] I felt like it was a big learning curve, but because I had the experience from Ireland and the uk it was I felt like I had the knowledge to quickly catch up, let’s say, or even revert back, because it’s probably in, I would say the eighties or maybe mid eighties. When Ireland changed to cavity and insulation.
Matthew Cutler Wesh: Did you already know about passive house at that stage when you came to Australia?
Luke Kellett: I had heard about it in Ireland. I’ve never worked on one in Ireland, but I’ve heard about it because, yeah, it was I would say put it down to the climate is, it’s quite popular.
In Ireland in Australia, no, at that time I didn’t hear of any projects in Australia at that time. It was probably not until. Maybe five years ago that I met Brian, five years ago, I’d say approximately now. I met Brian initially I was doing some energy search for him. So not here, his assessments.[00:20:00] And then yeah, he engaged me to do some designs and then ever since we, we did a lot of work for him, so never
Matthew Cutler Wesh: looked back. Nice. Nice. Brian of ice Smart. So he ICE is correct. One of the most prolific builders, I guess now of passive houses in Perth, Western Australia.
Luke Kellett: Sure is, he’s definitely built the most, from my understanding, he’s built the most passive or pacified principals homes in, in wa Yeah. So you hear
Matthew Cutler Wesh: about passive house and then what do you did, was it working with Brian the, do you needed to go and get trained up or did you just think that was a good idea to go and do the course?
Luke Kellett: It was a bit of both. Now I have to say full credit to Brian and his crew.
At the time Daniel Crest was involved as well. There was a lot of meetings to get my head around how things are [00:21:00] done and how they specifically do things in ICE Mart. So there was a lot of learning there. Initially we’ve done a couple of designs. So we did a couple of designs initially and yeah, went back and forth with Brian and tweaked things from the client and the usual design changes.
And then when I thought, okay, this is getting serious. I really want to have the credentials behind me decided to do the course with Daniel CREs.
Matthew Cutler Wesh: How do you describe what you do now? ‘cause you’ve designed houses, but how do you describe your business?
Luke Kellett: If you’re gonna put it short, I would say one stop shop is what we do.
‘cause we just don’t do architectural drawings. We do energy assessments. We have a sister company that is cer does certification. So building surveying a private certification ball assessments. And now we’re [00:22:00] looking to venture up with a structural engineer. So we can create hopefully we’re trying to create a one-stop shop for residential builders or homeowners.
The minute unfortunately I’d love to see all our work is passive or energy efficient. Unfortunately it’s just a small percentage. I would love if it was more. At the minute it’s, I don’t even know to put a percentage on it. We might only do maybe, let’s say three passive houses a year, maybe something similar. We do a lot of energy efficient homes. Unfortunately it wouldn’t go to a stage where all too often it doesn’t go to a stage where people want to go to that next level and install the heat recovery in their tightness membrane. Even though we try and guide them and educate them and direct them in that way. Unfortunately it doesn’t always go that way all too often. What do
Matthew Cutler Wesh: you think are some of the biggest hurdles there?
Luke Kellett: What is the biggest hurdles [00:23:00] now? And I can just speak from wa yeah. Just in new area there. Yeah. And I, I don’t want to get into a conflict with anybody listening to this that maybe other builders of brick homes, but I feel like there’s certainly a resistance to move away from brick and wa is probably the best way to put it.
There’s a lot of big companies that have a stronghold on the market and have a decent amount of influence, definitely in the N C even. That’s probably the biggest one to persuade someone to build a passive house is.
Is quite challenging to persuade them because I feel like I have to yeah.
Educate them or at least share the knowledge. The second thing is there’s often a debated, I want to build it outta brick and nothing wrong with that, nothing wrong with brick, but there’s a lot more layers and a lot more work that goes involved in that to create a passive home at a brick in wa is that because
Matthew Cutler Wesh: the brick.[00:24:00] In that situation is not really serving any purpose for the envelope other than just a rain screen.
Luke Kellett: That, that could be one point. The biggest point I see I’m not sure how it’s done in New Zealand but the lintels, the lin, the majority of lintels are TBAs, right? Which on every single opening you’ve got a 10 mil plate in the shape of an upside end t, which will cause a huge thermal bridge.
Across every single opening. There’s a lot of changes that would have to be made in the industry. To, to get a brick home up, up to, let’s say passive standards. Very easy for me to design it, I feel, because we know what to do, but in terms of getting the available trades that are capable of doing it and then getting the the materials, I think there’s, yeah, there’s a, that’s a whole other.
Discussion to do go. Yeah. I’ll give you an [00:25:00] example. We’ve recently completed a double brick dwelling, and the client wanted to put some cavity insulation in there. He wanted to put about 30 mil of cavity insulation. The insulation was vapor permeable, which is excellent. And we widened the cavity. It was a 90 mil cavity. And when we showed the trades, this, the brick layers the little company. It was like, whoa, there’s these drawings are incorrect. What? What’s happening here? So even such a small, I would feel like a very small change does a knock on effect to brick ties. Getting the educating or at least sharing the knowledge with the brick layer about what you wanna do.
Then we have to go into the window supplier. We can’t just leave the actual window sitting in the center of the cavity, which normally would happen in a double brick home in wa. There’s just a small, I feel, a small changes [00:26:00] in terms of design and architectural, but big changes for your standard trade or your standard supplier hasn’t seen these details before and often it’s either we see resistance or a huge price increase. Yeah. Yeah. Either it’s not good for a builder or a client. Yeah. So
Matthew Cutler Wesh: of the successful passive house projects that you’ve done, have they been a completely different typology?
Luke Kellett: Yes. Every single one of them is Kimball. Every single one of them. Wow. Every single one we’ve done is timber. My own home is a certified PACIFIES Plus.
The we’ve built that and Bri, sorry, Brian built that. I designed it with one 20 Stud. There is some brickwork and that’s in the garage, obviously outside the thermal envelope. It didn’t really matter too much. Plus I wanted to, give the illusion that it was a break home to people and often people would walk through it because we had many home opens.[00:27:00]
And at the end of it they’d say, oh what’s the walls made of? And I’ll, I’d say Timber stood. They’re like, oh my God, I thought it was brick. Not that for me, that matters. But in wa you’ve got quite a big yeah. I’ll say it again. A big grasp. Yeah. On people that really want double brick. And I’ve heard the stories of people coming into homes and knocking on the walls, whoa, this is brick.
I don’t feel comfortable. All of a sudden it’s a timber, it’s flimsy. It’s, it’ll blow down. It’s not just about the
Matthew Cutler Wesh: aesthetic. It’s a perception of being solid and just the. The
Luke Kellett: norm. Exactly right. That’s true. It’s true. Now, this is before my time of coming to Australia. My understanding is there was some heavy marketing from some brick companies.
I won’t name them. And yeah the advert was people going into the timber frame home knocking on the walls and looking at each other saying, oh, this isn’t brick. Yeah. Yeah. [00:28:00] And that was, yeah, that was the whole marketing
Matthew Cutler Wesh: thing here. Interesting. Interesting. So those are the other projects.
Obviously you’ve got your own home, which is a fantastic certified passive house. And I mentioned that makes you even stronger advocate. But the other clients, did they come to you already knowing that they want to passive house?
Luke Kellett: The majority of the clients would’ve come through Imart. We did have a couple more that came directly to me via word of mouth or seeing me advertising on on Google or Facebook or something similar. So yes, the majority of people that I’ve worked with already new, fully aware of passive house and probably were on the passive house journey, I would say maybe a year before they pulled the trigger on choosing a designer.
Matthew Cutler Wesh: I’ve heard that from quite a few people I’ve spoken to, that it’s very hard to convince someone who is very early on or has never heard about passive [00:29:00] house down that journey. It’s often the ones that have had time to think and do some research themselves, that’s tends to be the more successful projects that end up going down that pathway.
‘cause it I known for myself, it took me a few years to get my head around it. Yeah, you can’t expect a client to after one sit down for an hour with a coffee to say, oh yeah, I’m not gonna be on brick anymore.
Luke Kellett: Yeah, no, totally agree with you. There’s gonna be a a transition period and often maybe a lot of resistance because all for example, as a homeowner, all my friends live in Brick Home.
Oh my God, I’m now changing to a timber frame home, even if it’s passive or not. I’m now changing. I’m not following the herd here. I’m going a separate way. I don’t wanna be exposed, I don’t wanna be embarrassed if it doesn’t work.
Matthew Cutler Wesh: It stand, not to mention trying to convince them about air tightness.[00:30:00]
Luke Kellett: Yeah. Yes. That, that is. And often some people get lost in there. If the home is airtight, whoa, how will I breathe? Can I open a window? That’s the biggest one. Can I open a window in a pacify? I get that a lot.
Yeah. The biggest Let’s say the biggest achievement now for myself and even Brian at Ice Mart, is that we’ve got homes on the ground that you can visit.
Yes. Even my own home, I’ll open to anybody that’s interested in building a passive house. I’ll show them and I’ll explain them. That is a huge benefit. Yeah. For getting clients or people even considering or just want to learn a little bit more about passive house. You don’t have to buy a home or want to build a home just to educate people that there is a better way Yep.
To build. And I think feeling touching, seeing how a passive house feels and for performs along with the data, [00:31:00] obviously is the key to Educating people. I’m not gonna say persuade people because at the end of the day, passive house may not be for everyone. There’s always a product for everyone. Passive house may not suit everyone.
Matthew Cutler Wesh: You distinguish on your website between passive house and sustainable design. What’s the difference there in your perspective?
Luke Kellett: There’s a huge overlap when we, when I speak about sustainable design is maybe talking about recycling water, gray water harvesting, collecting the rain water off your roof.
Low energy consumption. Home can be considered sustainable, but recycling a material, it’s probably the biggest one. Maybe not using brick reducing concrete as much as you can.
That’s the bracket that I would or the majority of my clients would sit in. [00:32:00] Passive home, obviously we’re fully aware of it.
The passive vice principles, ultra low running costs or running. And yeah, just a comfortable environment to, to live in.
Matthew Cutler Wesh: So where do you see things going from here where you’ve been part of influencing the market there? We’ve, we interview, I see Perth alongside maybe Tasmania as a bit of a hub for passive of house in Australia, strangely.
But there, there’s a, there’s definitely a, something happening there. But where do you see things going in the next, say three to five years in the world of not just passive house, but. Building in general in a more sustainable
Luke Kellett: way. There’s definitely been a big, I would say, big change in the last three years.
From what I can see, the traction, the passive house, and even [00:33:00] sustainable or energy efficient homes, the traction that they’re getting in the WA market is pretty good now. I get a lot more inquiries now let’s say even in one month. Than if I was to re rewind the clock maybe six years ago, in one year.
Wow. So that just tells you how it’s changing, or at least people are questioning. Can we include double glazing? Can we, it’s a no brainer now to have solar for a lot of people. I. People questioning rainwater harvesting or rainwater tanks at least. So I definitely see the the market, as in homeowners are asking or expecting these things.
Wa there’s quite a few. What we call them sustainable estates are happening from developers. And there’s an interesting one now that Josh Bourne is in involved in, it’s 1 1 5 Hammond Broad Hill. And it’s basically developer, I [00:34:00] think it’s around 400 400 lots. And there’s quite stringent energy and sustainable requirements in there.
They will for example your Nat Hairs assessment is standard is six stars. This is seven and a half stars. They’ll expect to see some solar some rainwater harvesting of some kind, and to give ideas about the materials that they’d like to see in the estate. So there’s some really good things happening I feel from a local government and government end of things as well, and I think that’s important.
Clients can request these things, but I feel like the big driver is the government increasing the star rating as a minimum. That’s a no brainer, but having these incentives for people to put more energy efficient appliances or solar panels, work really well, even maybe even batteries, hopefully in wa soon.
Yeah. Giving people incentives to to go that extra mile. Even [00:35:00] if you do live in a brick home, putting solar panels on it is offsetting your footprint and reducing your bills. So I think it’s positive. Definitely we’re moving in the right direction. How fast we’re moving I.
That’s probably a little bit disappointing, but progression is looking positive.
Matthew Cutler Wesh: And that, that growth rate is definitely something to be excited about. Having a tenfold increase essentially in, in the number of inquiries that you’re getting for the type of work. And I think that’s not just a demand for housing. I would suspect that’s people coming to you because they know what you do. And I would like to think there’s a ripple effect as well when you have. 15 odd passive houses there. That’s 15 pe places that people can go and visit and experience what it feels like. And it spreads out from there until you get to a tipping point where people start demanding that rather than [00:36:00] just the basic alternative.
Luke Kellett: No, totally agree. I couldn’t agree with you more. When I design a home and imart builds it throughout construction, we would have a sun diner where, let’s say, for example the structures at lock ops stage, but you can still see the H R V ducting and the air tightness membrane on the inside of the house. And it’s a really nice evening to educate people on how a passive house works. Before it’s completed, because if you stand in the passive house and there’s gyprock on the walls and the ceiling, it’s all finished. You can’t really see what happens underneath and fully understand. In fact, this weekend we’re having a a double home open. There’s two houses that we’ve built right next to each other, and one is fully completed. And the next is at lockup stage. So it’s a really good opportunity for people to actually see, [00:37:00] okay, here’s a finished product. Step in it, see how it feels, how it performs, understand a little bit more about it, and then if you wanna get technical, you just step next door and you can actually see the workings. Of a passive host before it’s, I love that idea, and
Matthew Cutler Wesh: I remember talking about it with Brian because it’s a it’s a no brainer once you hear the concept, but it’s such a good idea for builders and architects out there, because like you say, it’s the prime time to show people what’s important, because all of those systems that make a passive house work really well. When the house is finished, they’re invisible. So that’s the ideal time to, to show them the parts that work. And it I’ve talked to builders and architects in the south island over here in New Zealand, and the best time to, to do that on a building site is the middle of winter as well. ‘cause they tell me, I’ve heard lots of stories of builders, apprentices. On the [00:38:00] first time they get to work in a passive house, just being so amazed how comfortable the building site is. Once they get that, that the weather tightness and the air tightness, the vapor control layer on the inside, they get it sealed up and they’re in their shorts and t-shirts working away. And it’s snowing outside. Outside. Yeah.
Luke Kellett: Love it. Even the trades.
Matthew Cutler Wesh: Exactly. They don’t wanna leave because their house is probably freezing cold.
Luke Kellett: But isn’t, that’s perfect. Maybe hopefully that, that young apprentice might might work for a couple of years and then Oh wow. I really wanna build a passive house now. Worked on that. But it’s beautiful. It’s, that’s,
Matthew Cutler Wesh: it is really good point because I’m quite passionate about good designers, good builders, spreading the word, and it’s just such a great marketing opportunity to talk and educate people. Bring them into a house that’s at that half-built stage and get them to really feel. What a house is and then you can point out [00:39:00] what’s causing that, and that there’s no heater there ‘cause there’s nothing turned on yet. It’s just such
Luke Kellett: a great idea. Yeah. And it works really well because we have to appreciate not everybody’s in construction. Yeah. Some of these people are doctors or teachers. They’re not fully educated in what construction techniques are available. Some people might assume that in wa all you do is it can build out of double brick. Not the case. So sharing the knowledge, I feel is key and educating people because we I spend hundreds of hours every year speaking to people, seminars speaking at these sundowners things like that. And yeah, it’s getting traction now, but we do have to educate people and share the knowledge. Yeah.
Matthew Cutler Wesh: Where’s the place best place for people to connect with you?
Luke Kellett: I would [00:40:00] say the best place maybe LinkedIn is probably the any professionals linkedIn homeowners. If you just Google Kette Design group. Or even Facebook Kette design group. We often post some of our recent jobs there. Give us a call if you want to have a chat or you need some information about passive house or any type of sustainable or energy efficient project. Advice is always free. I.
Matthew Cutler Wesh: Happy to help. Awesome. Thank you very much Luke. Really appreciate your time today, but also greatly appreciate your work in the industry and helping move things along, educate people as well and giving those fine examples of what a, a good quality home can look and feel
Luke Kellett: like. Thank you for having me on, Matthew. I’m a big fan of your work. Keep up the good fight.[00:41:00]
Matthew Cutler Wesh: All right. And that was Luke Kellett Design Group of KT Design Group. He’s based in Western Australia. What’d you think of that? Z?
Zach Ske: Super interesting. He’s doing great work and in a somewhat challenging market. So that was, I, it was very thought provoking around, and especially around that, the issue of brick and that vernacular kind of construction style. Yeah.
Matthew Cutler Wesh: Yeah, it’s, it is interesting. We see that in a few places, not just with Bricks, but I think it, it speaks to the issue of. The way we’ve done things. And that’s a common challenge for passive house is you’re up against the way things have been done in any area. And so you’re not just introducing things like air tightness. But also figuring out how to do better, better installation in a typology. And [00:42:00] I guess it’s also a reminder that just because something’s worked really well somewhere else, doesn’t make everyone just jump on board and love it and want to do it straight away if they’ve been taught a certain way and learnt how to do things in
Zach Ske: a different way. Indeed, I, when I was listening to him talk about those challenges and the need to bring trades along and the this, as you say that this is the way we’ve done things kind of hurdle. There are a number of other programs that have been happening with the accelerator that have hit on this.
And we’re talking with, we’re talking about operational carbon, but the same issue around Brick actually was flagged last night by Chris Magwood of the Endeavor Center. So Chris has been a thought leader around embodied carbon for years now. And was at construction tech talking about About strategies to [00:43:00] reduce embodied carbon and some materials that can sequester carbon.
But he was talking about in Hi, he’s in I think Central Canada and talking about the prevalence of brick construction and the fact that brick is one of the highest embodied carbon. Cladding materials around so that it’s not so that challenge of changing practice, of course is not, this is not just specific to passive house, but also to how do we create low embodied carbon buildings too?
Yeah. And then the the need for training and the not just so the trades can. Accomplish these jobs, but also so that they can be advisors and enc and not dissuade homeowners from doing passive house, but say, yes, we know how to do passive house. This makes sense. [00:44:00] That’s so critical.
And and at the building performance interactive that we’re doing with With hubris of Partel and mark, Jake Jacob of Kiss House and Ben Adam Smith of house planning help, who’s been on the podcast. The first episodes with Toma. O’Leary. O’Leary. And he it’s in Ireland.
There’s this and Europe. Generally there’s this move for, to, for N Zb. The near, near zero energy building and building regulation. And so there’s this huge societal push. To be moving toward near passive house construction and retrofits. And he has this amazing facility like training facility for the trade. So I was thinking about that. I, and he shows it off in this video for the episode. And I was just thinking about Luke and how. How valuable a facility like that would be for him [00:45:00] in Western Australia to to help. ‘cause it’s a place where people can do on, on, on hand, on hands-on learning about taping and applying membranes and dealing with HVAC installations, high performance ventilation systems and.
Anyway, they, it was, it just, it sparked all these that we’re in these diff these different markets have different challenges and are in different places of evolution. And yeah. It’s just it’s amazing to see that breadth. Yeah. And we’re all chipping it away at these different, at the, kinda these different steps along this path.
Matthew Cutler Wesh: I think o ideally you’d have. An industry full of advocates. But at the other end you want to start by not having detractors, right? And there are so many, if you are just, if you are a bit of a, feel like a lone voice, if you’re the only one talking about passive house at the design [00:46:00] stage, there are so many ways that goal can get tripped up along, along the pathway where you’ve got to, you move into a main builder, and then you’ve got all the specialist trades, the plumber, the.
In their case, the bricklayer electrician, other people doing finishing work, any of those people have a almost disproportionate amount of power, often in dissuading the ultimate homeowner against some of the things that are gonna really improve the performance of the house or just downright disregarding something like passive house and saying something like, oh, you don’t re, you don’t need that here.
That’s not the way we do things and it’s surprise. It always surprises me just how much persuasion some of those trades and builders seem to have over. And how much homeowners trust them. Yeah. Which isn’t, they’re trustworthy people. I’m not saying you shouldn’t. Trust them in, in, [00:47:00] in their area of expertise, their knowledge. But it just seems a shame when you’ve gone to the extent of going through an architect who’s trained in something like passive house, understands it really well, and then just because they’ve done that work upfront doesn’t guarantee that it’s gonna get done if they’re battling the rest of the industry.
Zach Ske: You the design, the architect and designer could have done a tremendous job explaining passive house, that the client could be completely on board, and then the builder, can c come in and say, this is crazy. This is you. Yeah. This is dangerous. What are you thinking?
That Yeah. Be just wasn’t need to brave. Exactly. Yeah. Walls need to breathe and put a kibosh on it. Yeah. So it that, that, that education of the trades is a theme that comes up a lot and there are lots of reasons. It’s important. It’s not just the delivery of these buildings, it’s also just allowing them to get off to, [00:48:00] to get out of the starting gate in the first place. Yeah.
Matthew Cutler Wesh: Very good. Alright that was great. I really enjoyed talking to Luke and that there are some really great projects going on in Perth strangely, but there just seems to be a bit of a critical mass there. As well as down in, in Hobart, Tasmania, there’s a few pockets but now we’re seeing a lot more activity in some of their main centers across Australia as well, which is.
Which is fantastic. Speaking of activity lots of stuff going on. By the time this POD podcast is live, we should be underway with cop over in Scotland, which is very relevant to, to what we’re talking about here, particularly around embodied carbon as well as operational carbon. But we’ve got a bunch of other stuff going on in passive
Zach Ske: house world.
We do indeed. So on construction tech Tuesday, so Wednesday, down under and in New Zealand, do you say, down under, in New Zealand. Or [00:49:00] is it it’s Australian,
Matthew Cutler Wesh: but Australia? Yeah. Yeah. All right. I’m bilingual Australian and New Zealand but, so it works for me, but yeah.
Zach Ske: All right. So we’ll be rejoined by Ilkka Cassidy and Steve Hessler of Holstrom System, and they’re gonna be talking about sim part two. So looking at Digital alignment all sorts of exciting modeling. Digital twins the difference between SIM and BIM C l T components, light framed high performance wall panels, so lots of geeky.
The, where the digital world meets the real world in passive house construction and the opportunities for innovation around that. Then on the Global Pass Fail Showcase on Wednesday. So Thursday your time, we are going to be joined by Be Public prefab. And they’re gonna be talking about [00:50:00] this amazing project where it’s in the Santa Cruz Mountains.
It’s a site where that just got devastated by wildfire. And they’ll be talking about their project to build. To design and build a house in six months. It’s actually not the entire house. They’ve, they des from, they went from design to, to fabric fabrication and onsite installation of the thermal and structural envelope of the building in a six month period.
So they’ll be talking, tell, telling that story, and it’s a real it’s one about resilience and renewal as well. So really powerful story. And then International Passive house stays that, that is organized every six months. I believe, by the International Passive House Association.
Will is kicking off on no November 5th and the accelerator is working with. The Passive House network, formerly known as North American Passive [00:51:00] House Network on a special kickoff event. This will be a live virtual tour of the Engine 16 passive house retrofit by Baxter GUI Architects that’s going on in Manhattan.
So Mike Gui and Amy Faye of. VAX GUI will be joined by Kevin Brennan of Brennan Air Tightness, installation, and Ken Levison of the PAC House Network to tour the project and then to share about the open houses that are happening across the us. There are also all sorts of virtual resources available through internationally.
It is a great way to kick off a, the three day international passive house days. I think that’s it for what’s happening on the accelerator. We have lots of socials going on and we can share as well by the throughout the community and we can share all of that in show [00:52:00] notes.
Matthew Cutler Wesh: Awesome. Yeah, a lot. So much going on and yeah, if you haven’t subscribed, then def make sure you do ‘cause that’s a great way to catch up with everything that’s going on, whichever time zone you’re in as well. It’s great to see some of those some of those European friendly events kicking off.
And getting some good audience numbers on the, on those as well. Really great to have that audience there. And thank you for the audience for this podcast too. Really appreciate you downloading, listening. And also if you want to give us a rating or review wherever you get your podcast, that’d be much appreciated too ‘cause it helps other people find find out about what we’re doing.
Zach Ske: Absolutely awesome. We just passed 70,000 downloads. This nice kind of amazing. So nice. Thanks everybody for listening. Yeah, absolutely.
Matthew Cutler Wesh: Alright, thanks Zach. Thank you Matthew. We’ll catch you catch you up next week.[00:53:00]