Final version: An artist's render of Atkins' house


Queenstowner Josh Atkins didn’t just want to build a home using passive house principles, he wanted to share it with the world.

As a result, Atkins — co-director of building company Compound — is producing a YouTube video series on building a sustainable home on a 480 square metre hillside section at Arthurs Point he and his brothers bought last year.

The first 20-minute episode landed late last month with another four to come every six weeks or so.

Atkins says the series, inspired by the Grand Designs TV show and shot by local filmmaker Paul Rayner, is aimed at educating builders/tradies, architects and designers and home owners and real estate agents.

He’s passionate about building healthy homes, not just for humans but also for the environment.

‘‘It can be more expensive to build a healthier home, however there is a payback in terms of operating costs and efficiencies in design that can also balance out the equation.

‘‘The key is to have a knowledgeable builder involved in the process as early as possible.’’

Atkins says every corner of the home, ‘Moonlight Tui’, designed by local Team Green Architects, will be 20 degrees 24/7, ‘‘and in winter I’ll need to put a 2-kilowatt panel heater on for maybe an hour when it’s minus 10 outside’’.

He maintains it’s about employing the five passive house principles which come back to ‘‘basic science’’.

Hoping to educate: Josh Atkins is illustrating his sustainable build of an Arthurs Point house through a video series

Though ‘‘over-investing’’ in the build, it just falls short of passive certification due to budget constraints.

Noting the current New Zealand building code is ‘‘shocking’’ in terms of its low minimum
threshold, he says one of his dreams would be ‘‘to pull down some of the older housing stock in central Queenstown that’s cold and unhealthy, then do duplexes and townhouses where you can have the people that fuel the city in hospo, and that, living in healthy environments’’.

‘‘You don’t walk out in winter in a jacket with holes all through it, but that’s what our  houses are like.’’