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Floor area: 406 m2

Waikanae 2015

There’s a lot more to this Waikanae home than can be seen at first glance. While the bold symmetrical form, schist stone pillars and cedar trim demand a second look, what’s going on behind the scenes also helps to make the house stand out. The owners took the long view when coming up with a plan for their new home. Because they envisaged living in the house for another 20 to 30 years, they were prepared to take a serious approach to sustainability.

“We were very keen to use solar energy, both passively and also with a solar water heating system and photovoltaic cells to generate electricity. While we paid more at the beginning to include all these things, there will be substantial on-going energy savings, so we will get a return in the long term”.

The way the house is oriented to the north-facing rear of the site ensures the interior benefits from passive solar gain in the winter. There is also in-slab heating, powered by the photovoltaics. Surplus energy is fed to the swimming pool heat pump. And surplus hot water also goes to the pool. Everything is looped and controlled in the most efficient way, so the family have energy bill that are close to zero in summer. The house also has extra-deep exterior walls to accommodate thicker-than-standard insulation. And the wide framing of the double-glazed joinery creates a bigger thermal break than most thermally broken windows.

Key Sustainable Features:

• 8 kilowatt Photovoltaic grid tied solar system
• Slab edge and under slab insulation
• Thermally broken windows with Metro Xcel glazing
• 140mm framed exterior walls with R4.2 insulation
• Low energy LED lighting
• Dual solar hot water system with heat exchange to pool
• Underground storage tank to harvest rain water which supplies the toilets and hose taps
• Double layer R5.0 insulation to ceilings