Hear from our customers about their Passive House Projects

Fendalton Passive House


“We moved to Christchurch post-quakes to help with the rebuild and ended up staying. We wanted our new home to be low-energy and chose to build a Passive House – A German technique that uses triple-glazed windows, extra thick walls, abundant insulation and other technologies to create an airtight and energy-efficient building. The result is a constant temperature — winter and summer, day and night — of 20-odd degrees.

Our electrician recommended we approach Glenn of Harley Builders because of his workmanship. Of the 6 builders we interviewed we chose Glenn. We got on very well with him and were pleased his price came in the lowest.

We happily recommend Harley Builders to others. Here are some of the reasons why: Glenn had a very ‘can do’ attitude. We hadn’t decided on the windows upfront and were pleased that Glenn was open to variations.

Glenn was proactive by saying ‘this is going to work’ or ‘I think there is a better way we can do this’. So there was no rework as Glenn and his foreman John – who was excellent – saw the problems before they arose. We did make some changes to the plans along the way. John and Glenn made the decision-making process easy as they were quietly supportive in the background. Glenn was very accommodating and great in getting tradesmen onto that work very quickly.


Beckenham House

Beckenham house gains Certification.
“Harley Passive House is pleased to announce another Certified Passive House completed.”

Q-When did you find out about Passive House?
Back before the earthquake, not under the name Passive House but the concept, I used to work in the insulation industry and education about eco homes with super insulation and MVHR. We found education about not turning off the ventilation system was needed as home occupiers tried to save money by turning it off.

Q-Did you think it would be this good?
It’s one of those things that’s hard to imagine or visualise the feeling of living in a PH, you know the facts but to actually feel it is different.

Q-Why did you use Harley builders?
First of all, Glenn had the experience of building the first certified PH here in Christchurch, we talked to two other builders but we wanted someone who had that experience. Secondly, he is committed not just from a business perspective but he lives in a straw bale house and has an interest in Passive House and sustainable building.

Q-What were the subbies like and how did Glenn handle them?
Very good, there’s always the range of issues to deal with when building a house and Glenn handled it, there was no running away, he always made sure we were happy. He got onto it.

Q-How did you find the Harley Builders team?
They were unmissable, due to difficulties with the Architect there were quite a few difficult details that needed solving on the fly. Glenn gave us so much reassurance and confidence that it will get sorted. It took the weight off my shoulders.

Q-What’s it like to live in a Passive House?
It’s hard to image beforehand, people who have a Passive House or near it say it feels sooo nice, it’s always the same everywhere you go in the house. You don’t see it, but you FEEL it. I look forward to going home at night.

Q-What is your favourite part of the house?
The WHOLE house, the bedrooms aren’t smelly and mouldy. I love it how the heated towel rail hasn’t been used, the towels dry overnight without it. The lounge space is my favourite, I sat in the lounge for a week with no TV just looking at the walls, ceiling and out the windows.

Q-Would you ever want to go back to an old house? No!

Q-What advice would you have for a someone building a new home?
Depends on what you are building, this is a house for the rest of our lives, its an expensive thing and most people try to get that number down, but if you think over the lifetime of the house it works out. A lot goes into a house and you need someone who is confident at doing it. It is stressful and it’s better to invest in the bones of the house. We humans are visual creatures it’s hard to imagine what it’s like to live in a Passive House until you experience it.

Parklands House

Certification in progress