Active vs Passive

There is often mis-information about passive housing and active housing, so I thought I’d just copy paste the part about energy from our Learn page which explains how MSA sees this.


Active energy:
Energy is a hot topic. But it is also something that can easily be solved on an individual basis. For MSA it’s very simple, just provide more free energy than what you, the house and a couple of EV’s consume. We call this an active house. Unlike a passive house that attempts to use as little energy as possible and hence has to compromise on a multitude of comfort and environmental factors, MSA believe it is better to invest in ample alternate energy from the start, so all MSA houses provide this, primarily with photo-voltaic cells (solar panels). This isn’t an option, it’s another new normal. Based on the average energy consumption in New Zealand homes the MSA house supplies about twice what you need. The excess provides EV charging, the peace of mind not having to worry about energy use (ever), and because MSA houses are grid tied, there’s plenty left to send back to the grid repaying the embodied energy used to create the house and a possibility of a cheque from the power company every month to boot.

Home Batteries:
The MSA way means you don’t need batteries. The grid becomes your battery storage effectively. So long as you put more into the grid than you take out, you are energy and carbon neutral and contributing to the reduction of burning fossil fuels and carbon emissions.


I hope that helps and feel free to ask us any questions.  


Constructing a better future, 



The next big thing in design is circular.

The IDEO team and The Ellen McArthur Foundation have created a website to explain how the circular ecomony works to enable businesses to adopt this system. In the video below, Tim Brown the CEO of IDEO explains briefly how the circular economy and circular design works and why it is such an exciting time to be a designer and entrepreneur.

Celebrating pioneers: John B. Goodenough

introducing: John B. Goodenough.

He is known around the world for his pioneering work that led to the invention of the rechargeable lithium-ion battery.

He identified and developed the critical materials that provided the high-energy density needed to power portable electronics, initiating the wireless revolution. Today, batteries incorporating Goodenough’s cathode materials are used worldwide for mobile phones, power tools, laptops, tablets and other wireless devices, as well as electric and hybrid vehicles.
source: University of Texas at Austin

Many thanks to DSM and their Bright Minds Challenge.

“It’s a journey I’ve been on since the first global oil shortage in the early 1970’s” he says. “As a society, we got lucky back then, through the development of new oil fields from the North Sea to Alaska. But it was obvious to me even then that to sustain our modern lifestyle on this planet, we need to return to a sustainable energy supply: Which is energy delivered to us by the sun.”

Celebrating the Greats: Richard Neutra

Mid century modern architect Richard Neutra was responsible for designing an astounding amount of modern homes. He was well known for his combinations of glass and steel as well as attention to his clients' desires. He was a popular architect who favoured a combination of modern and clean style and practicality. His architecture is known all around the world as being a leading style in the mid-century modern movement. One of my personal favourites is the Kaufman House. Here is a video that features the story of his own iconic home. Do let us know what you think. Enjoy!

Celebrating the Greats: Mies van der Rohe

"To create order out of the desperate confusion of our times." Mies van der Rohe

Mies van der Rohe 1886 – 1969

His mature buildings made use of modern materials such as industrial steel and plate glass to define interior spaces. He strove toward an architecture with a minimal framework of structural order balanced against the implied freedom of unobstructed free-flowing open space. He called his buildings "skin and bones" architecture. He sought an objective approach that would guide the creative process of architectural design, but he was always concerned with expressing the spirit of the modern era. He is often associated with his quotation of the aphorisms, "less is more" and "God is in the details".

Source: Wikipedia

Celebrating the Greats: Frank Lloyd Wright

Frank Lloyd Wright - 1867-1959

Contemporary architecture continues to be grateful and build upon the achievements of past great architects.

We're creating a short series about our favorites. Thanks also to the clever people who make the videos, they are terrific!
We hope you enjoy them.

Early in life I had to choose between honest arrogance and hypocritical humility. I chose honest arrogance and have seen no occasion to change.
— Frank Lloyd Wright

Frank Lloyd Wright (born Frank Lincoln Wright, June 8, 1867 – April 9, 1959) was an American architect, interior designer, writer, and educator, who designed more than 1,000 structures, 532 of which were completed. Wright believed in designing structures that were in harmony with humanity and its environment, a philosophy he called organic architecture. This philosophy was best exemplified by Fallingwater (1935), which has been called "the best all-time work of American architecture".[1] Wright was a leader of the Prairie School movement of architecture and developed the concept of the Usonian home, his unique vision for urban planning in the United States. His creative period spanned more than 70 years.


source: Wikipedia

If you are interested in Frank Lloyd Wright, you can learn more at the following websites:
Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation
Frank Lloyd Wright Trust


Sustainability is the possibility that humans
and other life will flourish on Earth forever
— Flourishing, 2013

We're inspired by the book Flourishing: A Frank Conversation about Sustainability

"This book invites you into a conversation between a teacher, John R. Ehrenfeld, and his former student now professor, Andrew J. Hoffman, as they discuss how to create a sustainable world. Unlike virtually all other books about sustainability, this one goes beyond the typical stories that we tell ourselves about repairing the environmental damages of human progress."  2013, Stanford Business Books

If you'd like to know more we invite you to go to John Ehrenfeld's website, Flourishing by Design.


State of Green

Denmark inspires us and shows the world how to transition to a State of Green.


At the end of 2014 , Denmark’s capacity stood at 4,792 MW, Denmark has the highest proportion of wind power in the world. In 2015, Denmark produced 42% of electricity from wind, up from the 2014 record of 39% of total power consumption.