Building sustainable bespoke homes, Mt Grey Building is constantly looking into new products and ideas to get the best for their customers. We talk to director Caleb Honiss about the importance of energy efficiency and going beyond the Building Code
How do you define an energy efficient home?
At one end of the scale, an energy efficient home is one that is warmer and cheaper to run than a standard New Zealand home – that is, one that meets the minimum requirements of the Building Code. At the other end of the scale, it refers to a home that requires little to no heating, runs off solar power, and has a positive impact on the environment.
What additional costs are involved in building a home like this?
Small changes at the design stage can save you a lot of money down the track. So, whilst the initial cost may be slightly more, the long-term savings will more than compensate for this. There is a solution to fit every budget: improving on a code-minimum home in a few key areas can make a big difference, without costing a lot.
What is the Superhome Movement?
For us, it is all about education: the sharing of ideas with people who are passionate about building New Zealand's best homes. For the homeowner, it is an opportunity to get ideas from the experts, who are all working together to improve the standard of home-building. It is also about hearing about and seeing products that are new to the market.
Do all of the homes you build embrace energy efficiencies?
Yes, we certainly encourage all of our clients to think of the environmental impact their home is having, as well as how they can improve on the energy efficiency of their home. Regardless of budget you can always exceed the Building Code!
We are currently building a display home at 219 Highsted Road in Casebrook that embraces a number of sustainable materials and practices. We are encouraging people to come down and visit the home during the construction stage so they can get a clear understanding of what is being done differently and what an energy efficient home looks like beneath the surface – as often what makes our homes special is hidden from view.
What is your top tip when it comes to energy efficient homes?
Look at the dollars you will be saving, not simply the dollars you are spending. Involve a builder and architect who are as passionate about achieving an energy efficient home as you are. If they aren't passionate about the products and processes, then you won't get the end result you are looking for.
Structural Insulated Panels are relatively new to the New Zealand building industry, but are gaining massive support due to their high performance in our local conditions. Quite simply, SIPs contain a super insulated polyurethane core. In some cases they also include a weather- and air-tight membrane, eliminating the need for building paper.
With SIPs you can get your walls and roof up in a matter of days, completely straight and insulated, and ready for windows and doors. Overall, the build time is much faster, and the performance far superior to that of traditional framing materials.
NZ SIPs, pictured above, are made in Central Otago, offering Kiwis a faster, more efficient, locally-made building option.
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