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Cover art for Positive Energy Homes
Csiro, May 2017

Positive Energy Homes Creating Passive Houses for Better Living

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Reviewed by Bill

Bill is the Buyer for Boffins, so blame him when you don’t find the book you want. He reads widely, particularly non-fiction, and reviews books monthly on Wednesdays with Gareth Parker on radio station 6PR.

*As reviewed on Radio 6PR 882 19th May 2017*

The authors, Robin Brimblecombe and Kara Rosemeier, are building scientists with lots of experience overseeing the design and delivery of energy efficiency retrofits and super-efficient solar-powered building. There is some useful material on retrofitting existing houses, but the focus of this book is on the design of new Positive Energy Homes – which are just Passive Houses set up to generate a surplus of renewable energy.

They first explain how to create the thermal envelope, the membrane that creates the cocoon of the passive house, that restricts heat loss. They explain design principles, insulation, and window choices that make this all work.

Fresh air delivery into the home is covered in detail – filters, heat exchangers, ducting, fan systems and more.

Hot water – heat pumps and solar, heating and cooling the house, light – maximising natural light, and extensive covering of electrical lighting, considerations when choosing all sorts of household appliances, energy generation and storage – solar photovoltaic systems, solar panels, designing a system for your house, system sizing, inverters, wind energy and storage batteries.

The presentation – diagrams, illustrations, charts – helps make all the technical information digestible and our customers have been asking for years for a book that covers all these things in a way that the layperson can understand them. I don’t think I’d build a house again without reading this book.

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