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 LEVEL Sustainability: Energy 2nd edition

Designers play a critical role in two aspects of a house's energy use. For a start, the design of the building can optimise passive heating and natural ventilation and lighting. 

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Secondly, the designers advice and specification of active energy systems, such as water heating, space heating and lighting, and options such as photovoltaic electricity generation.

This guide covers the second role, looking at the important choices facing designers and homeowners, what different technologies can achieve and which options are more energy efficient and environmentally friendly than others. It explains the requirements of the New Zealand Building Code, standards and other obligations that need to be met - while pointing out that going better than the required minimum typically brings benefits in comfort and on-going cost savings.

This second edition is a complete updating of the information given in the first edition. In the 8 years since that publication in 2008, there have been continued advances in technology, including improved wood pellet burners and heat pumps. More integration is possible between solid fuel boilers and solar water heating systems. Controls and sensors are becoming more sophisticated, some allowing monitoring or control with a smart device. The challenge is to recognise and specify what is simple and truly useful while avoiding unnecessary 'bling' - technology that looks good on the surface but comes at a high cost without delivering genuine benefits.