- We value science and learning. We openly share our knowledge and experiences with others.
- We value practices and policies designed to leave a World to our Children in at least as good a condition as that we currently enjoy.
- We value honesty, integrity, pragmatism and transparency. We work hard to create the best sustainability outcomes for our Customers, delivered efficiently and economically.
Despite heat records being broken almost every successive year, spiralling energy costs, and a fossil-fuel powered electricity grid that is nearing end-of-life and struggling to cope with increasing demand, even today home builders still find reasons for not building sustainably. "Our customers won't pay for it.", "It's not worth the money.", "It's too hard." and "It only makes sense in Europe." are reasons typically given.
A lack of awareness, industry resistance and low minimum building standards have left Australia with a huge number of low-quality houses with mediocre thermal performance. Not only are these buildings expensive to run and responsible for enormous CO2 emissions, many are also unhealthy living environments with poor-quality air and humidity issues.
The vision of Passivology, quite simply, is to make building sustainably the norm instead of the exception. By showing home owners and builders that comfortable, energy-efficient homes can be built economically and effectively in Australia, Passivology aims to create a sustainable future, one house at a time.
Ten years ago when I first decided that I wanted to build an energy-efficient house, the challenges were high: scant information available on the web, few products on the market, and a building industry still trying to come to terms with 5 and 6-star energy rating requirements. I had very little information to go on, and finding experts to talk to - without getting the big sales pitch - was nearly impossible.
What I did find though, even back then, was that I was far from alone. It seemed that almost everyone I spoke to who was considering building a sustainable home, had exactly the same problems. How to find good, up-to-date information on sustainability options and their impacts on efficiency, construction, and cost - AND presented in a way that was easy to understand and allowed the would-be sustainable home-owner to have control and be part of the design decision process?
I also found that, with a professional background as a technology consultant, the whole area of sustainable construction research and advisory was something that I was good at, and loved doing. Thus, the seeds of the idea behind Passivology were sown.
Many things have changed since my first foray into energy-efficient design. Perhaps spurred by ever-increasing energy costs and a heightened awareness of the urgency to address climate change, more and more people are wanting to build comfortable, sustainable homes. And yes, there are many more products available on the market, and much more information available. Yet disappointingly, the building industry has been slow to respond. And so, in some ways we are in a position of having even more questions and fewer answers, and the challenge for the home builder has become even more daunting.
The other big change over the past few years has been the development of technology for monitoring, controlling and automating the home - including sustainability features. Whether you call it a Smart Home, Home Automation, or Internet of Things, these technologies can be an effective and affordable solution for measuring and regulating thermal comfort and energy consumption in your home. I have witnessed first-hand that 'passive' homes (be that passive solar or passive house) tend to work better if the occupants are 'active', opening a window here, closing a shutter there and so forth, to manage heat gain and loss. And believe me, it is surprisingly difficult to pick the right time to open a window based on internal and external temperatures, sun angle, wind speed and direction, etc. It’s very easy to get wrong, and you pay for your mistakes by having to turn on the air conditioner!
Automation technology can make this process much more effective and easier, by 'learning' how your house performs under the influence of the Sun, and controlling these things automatically. Right now, this is very much a nascent field, and we are at the cutting edge. But Passivology has been making these solution work for some years now, and I predict that eventually all buildings will incorporate these technologies.
The concept for Passivology has been steadily forming and evolving over the past decade. The name reflects the combination of 'passive' (as in Passive House and Passive Solar), and 'ology' meaning both an area of research or knowledge, and technology. With a focus on energy-efficient design enhanced by technology, I created Passivology to make the journey of those wanting sustainable homes easier, and more effective.
I warmly encourage you to get in touch, even if only for a chat. But whatever you decide, I wish you all the best on your path towards sustainability.
Meet the Team
Hi, my name is Neil. I grew up in the bush, but currently live in Bayside Melbourne. I'm also a certified Passive House Consultant. Don't be afraid! That just means that I have undertaken studies and passed the rigorous Passive House examination set by the PassivHaus Institute in Darmstadt, Germany. You can read more about Passive House here.
I have been deeply interested in all aspects of energy-efficient design and sustainable living for over ten years. I've been through the research, design and build process for two energy-efficient homes for my family, and I consult widely for others wanting to go down the same path.
Prior to this, I spent some 25 years working in technology as an IT consultant. With this background, Passive House was particularly appealing to me because it requires the designer to create a thermal model (simulation) of the building, which enables all aspects of its thermal performance and energy consumption to be accurately predicted. That is, it turns building energy efficiency into a science; and something that can be modelled and optimized on a computer before build.
As a Passive House consultant, I have the tools and knowledge to accurately calculate how much insulation and glazing are required to make a building perform well, in any climate. As a technology geek, I am able to monitor, control and automate all aspects of the building so it performs optimally, automatically.
I am fascinated by the possibilities, and I hope you will find my enthusiasm contagious!
At this stage, you've probably got more questions than answers... Or maybe you'd like someone to bounce some ideas off?
Wherever you're at, I encourage you to get in touch. Let's talk about the possibilities.