Granite bench tops are ‘out’ and insulation (REDUCING ENERGY CONSUMPTION) is ‘in’
World-renowned architect and founder of ZEDFactory, Bill Dunster, challenged Kiwis to re-think what’s important about New Zealand homes, believing that we need a wake-up call. While granite worktops might be considered an important selling feature now, what’s becoming increasingly evident is that insulation, orientation towards the sun, as well as low energy light fittings and appliances can not only improve running costs of the home but increase bottom line value and ease of selling in the future.
Speaking at the recent Sustainable Housing Summit, Dunster said, “Houses within our low-carbon projects in the UK have garnered a premium over those in neighbouring areas. Developers realise they will get higher prices when they sell homes in new low-carbon developments.” With house values headlining daily, this is definitely a factor worth considering. But how do Kiwis go low-carbon, reduce their energy consumption and develop sustainable homes?
Enter Homestar, an organisation that is set up to enable New Zealanders to build sustainability into their homes; sustainability meaning warmer, drier and smarter homes. Either through a free online Homestar test, or via trained professional’s on-site, homes are given a rating on a 1-10 Homestar scale to indicate how well they perform on energy consumption, water usage, sun capture and insulation. Ways to increase Homestar ratings are also provided, proving an invaluable tool when renovating, building and selling.
While Dunster’s ZEDFactory, (‘zero (fossil) energy development’) is aiming to move the world towards a zero carbon and zero waste life on a large scale, organisations like Homestar focus on making changes in the home. Marketing Manager, Dana Alexander, echoes Dunster saying, “We can all explore new ways of living to make our home perform better, for example; installing high levels of insulation, embracing thermal mass concepts and orientation to the sun; ensuring homes are adequately ventilated and choosing energy and water efficient appliances and fixtures.”
Dunster thinks big. His vision for sustainable communities incorporates ingenious concepts such as e-trees for charging electric cars, ensuring that communities are serviced by local markets and businesses and integrating work and living spaces. Alexander believes that, “If Kiwis employed even some of his thinking in town planning and home renovations we’d be well on our way to reducing our carbon footprint, let alone improving the health of our homes. If carbon is the new currency, best we put some in the bank.”
Image: Artist’s impression of Zed Factory high density cityscape in Dalian, China. They delicately place the landscape over the top of the housing creating an integrated form.
For a complete extract of Dunster’s recent keynote address at the Sustainable Housing Summit, please see http://goo.gl/pZQQn
*Survey released by realestate.co.nz at the Sustainable Housing Summit http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/money/7179549/Sun-top-priority-for-house-hunters