Budget Breakdown: A New Zealand Architect Builds a Passive House for His Family for $490K

Drawing on a simple material palette of plywood and corrugated metal, architect Rafe Maclean designs a certified Passive House on a steep, challenging lot in Dunedin.

Around a decade ago, New Zealand–based architect Rafe Maclean designed a house. "We thought it was going to be thermally quite good and efficient. Then it was built and the clients moved in, and they gave me some very direct feedback: It was such an energy-hungry house to keep warm," recalls Rafe. "It hit a nerve, and it got me thinking, ‘How can I school myself here? I need to do better.’"

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