Imperative 7: Civilized Environment

To improve occupant health by providing a direct connection to the outdoor environment.

Every regularly occupied space must have operable windows that provide access to fresh air and daylight.

This is an easy one for the Living House to comply with as all living area and bedrooms will have operable windows. We are using the remarkable Eco Windows from Raglan for the high performing windows in the Living House.

how the Living House complies
Imperative 8: Healthy Interior Environment

To improve occupant health by reducing or eliminating indoor pollutants.

To promote good indoor air quality, a project must create a Healthy Indoor Environment Plan that explains how the project will achieve an exemplary indoor environment including the following:
• Compliance with the current version of ASHRAE 62, or international equivalent
• Smoking must be prohibited within the project boundary
• Results from indoor air quality (IAQ) tests before and nine months after occupancy
• Compliance with the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) Standard Method v1.1-2010 (or international equivalent) for all interior building products that have the potential to emit Volatile Organic Compounds
• Dedicated exhaust for kitchens, bathrooms and janitorial areas
• An entry approach that reduces particulates tracked in through shoes
• An outline of a cleaning protocol that uses cleaning products that comply with the EPA Design for Environment label (or international equivalent)

how the Living House complies

ASHRAE 62 or international equivalent

We have yet to investigate how best to comply with this standard. When we know what we are doing we will update this. 


Easy, smoking IS PROHIBITED within the project boundary

Indoor air quality (IAQ) tests

When the time comes we will undertake this testing. The design of the Living House is going to be well placed to achieve these requirements as one of the fundamental design philosophies behind the house is the minimisation of materials. We have eliminated plasterboard and are therefore eliminating paints and plaster, thus eliminating VOCs. We plan on re-using our rammed earth plywood formwork instead and will only be purchasing E0 plywood for use on the project. For your information here are the limits that the house will have to comply with:

• Formaldehyde less than 50 ppb (parts per billion)
• PM2.5 less than 12 μg/m3 (microgram per meter cubed)
• PM10 less than 150 μg/m3
• Total Volatile Organic Compounds (TVOCs) less than 500 μg/m3
• 4-Phenylcyclohexane less than 3 μg/m3
• Carbon monoxide less than 9 ppm (parts per million)
• Ozone < 51 ppb
• Carbon dioxide less than 750 ppm
• Nitrogen dioxide less than 0.053 ppm over a 24-hour period

Dedicated exhaust for kitchens, bathrooms

Again easy. This is actually a NZBC requirement anyway. 

Entry approach

The Living House will have a 'shoes off' policy which will be signposted at the front door. 

Cleaning protocol 

The owners of the Living House already only use environmentally friendly cleaning products. The biological blackwater treatment system that is going to be installed in the Living House will mean that only plant based cleaning products will be able to be used in the dwelling anyway. 

Imperative 9: Biophilic Environment

To promote designs that bridge the divide between natural and built environments.

The project must be designed to include elements that nurture the innate human/nature connection. Each project team must engage in a minimum of one all-day exploration of the biophilic design potential for the project. The exploration must result in a biophilic framework and plan for the project that outlines the
• How the project will be transformed by deliberately incorporating nature through Environmental Features, Light and Space, and Natural Shapes and Forms
• How the project will be transformed by deliberately incorporating nature’s patterns through Natural Patterns and Processes and Evolved Human-Nature Relationships
• How the project will be uniquely connected to the place, climate and culture through Place-Based Relationships
• The provision of sufficient and frequent human-nature interactions in both the interior and exterior of the project to connect the majority of occupants with nature directly

The plan must contain methods for tracking biophilia at each design phase. The plan should include cultural, ecological and climatic studies that thoroughly examine the site and context for the project.

how the Living House complies

In November 2017 the Living House held their very first Biophilia Workshop. Since we are a small project, with an incredibly small project team (really only Joel and Chelle) we didn't have the vast reams of consultants that most project have to invite to participate in our Biophilia workshop. So instead we invited all of our supporters and suppliers. 

It was a great event! And I think we were all inspired by the process. We certainly came away with a bundle of new ideas to implement on the project. Based on the outcomes of our workshop we have written our first Biophilia Plan. I expect that as time progresses on the project that we will update this. 

You can download a copy of our biophilia plan by clicking the image to the right.

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