Passive House & High Performance Construction

Key principles are integral to a truly healthy, comfortable, and energy efficient home.

Passive House & High Performance Construction

PHPP Measurements provide a scientific analysis of how your house will perform at the design stage, demonstrating where additional investment will provide significant performance benefits.

Principles of a Passive or High Performance Home

Our four levels of high performance home all encompass the same key design principles.

Whilst these principles are mandatory in certified passive homes, successful integration into a design is highly effective with the right knowledge and experience, achieving a superior level of performance and energy efficiency.

Whatever level you choose to build for your family, it is these key principles that are integral to a truly healthy, comfortable, and energy efficient home.

Energy modelling will provide tangible performance data for any homeowners seeking reassurance.

Key Principles



Thermal Bridges Addressed

High Performing Windows

MHRV System



165mm SIPs Wall Panels and 265mm SIPs Roof Panels

EPS Floor Insulation and XPS Edge Insulation create an insulating envelope.

SIPs roof and wall panels, together with the floor insulation, creates a continuous insulating layer (envelope) around the home.

SIPs insulation won’t fall or sag over time resulting in a stable insulating layer.

An (optional) additional layer of Batts was installed for the service cavities (both roof and walls). This increases the R- Rating further.


Airtightness – Blower Door Test to check levels are acceptable, and identify leaks whilst they can still be remedied.

The SIPs panels themselves increase the airtightness of the build due to the continuous polystyrene core within each panel. Taping of the joints addresses those air tightness breaches

Taping the panel joints with specialist tape for the same reasons.

Taping potential areas of draughts and thermal bridging such as corners with specialist tape.

Intello Wrap used where necessary, i.e. where multiple joints and timber framing are located.


Zehnder central unit. The heat exchanger sits inside where the heat from the exhaust air is transferred across a thin metal plate to the fresh filtered intake air.

The ducting and vents ready for the team to install

The maze of intake & extraction ducting entering and leaving the central unit. All ducting is tagged to ensure correct installation.

The ducting is flexible enough to be installed around corners and through the 100mm ceiling service cavity.

An intake vent in the living area. Extraction vents are in the kitchen & bathrooms. Once the ceiling is painted a discreet white vent cover will replace the black tube.


Where the timber splines between the SIPs panels are located a thermal bridge is created. Additional Batts insulation within the service cavity reduces heat transfer

Batts insulation has been installed throughout the wall & ceiling cavities to reduce the impact of thermal bridging across the timber splines.

A couple of steel beams are present but they are within the building envelope, therefore there is no thermal highway between the indoors and outdoors.

Windows are important as they affect thermal bridging. Aluminium is a great thermal conductor so we use uPVC and timber frames to minimise unwanted transfer of thermal energy.


High performance windows provide better airtightness and insulation, and minimise thermal bridging

All exterior windows and doors within the thermal envelope are triple glazed uPVC framed. The performance of timber is even better but cost is currently a factor.

The uPVC frames also contain particular seals to improve their air tightness. Hung doors and windows have much better air tight seals than sliders.

Triple glazing will provide much better insulating performance in the South Island. The glazing is also argon filled and Low E.


Formance SIPs panels are very strong and ductile

SIPs are an integral unit and are effectively braced on both sides improving its intrinsic strength. The panels are nailed and bonded at the joints.

Being strong yet ductile means SIPs perform well in earthquake zones as the ductility gives them flexibility as opposed to collapse or breakage.

Formance SIPs panels can also span large distances with minimal structural support making them perfect for raking ceilings and large open areas.

Case Studies


SIPs Certified Passive House Plus

Rangiora Show Home

SIPs Passive House

Bowenvale Ave

SIPS Passive House

We also undertake Blower Door Testing – this is a reliable and accurate indicator of the air tightness of your home.  Compulsory in many countries overseas where there are tighter regulations on air tightness levels, it is increasingly used here to measure how leaky a home is and therefore the level of uncontrolled air movement and draughts.  Passive Houses world wide require Blower Door Testing, and Chatterton Homes have taken this one step further and test all of their homes. There is talk of it being regulated for all housing here in NZ so watch this space.

If you would like the air tightness of your own home tested talk to us!