Our Sustainability Goals for the house

After looking at different rating systems for sustainable houses, learning about sustainability of homes and our own beliefs in what a sustainable house is we came up with 10 sustainability goals for our home.

We could have gone for one goal like a passive house but to us the holistic approach, seeing the interaction of the different goals (like budget!) and looking at the total achievability of the goals is of interest to us. Some are no brainers, some a necessity like rainwater collection and on site wastewater treatment since the infrastructure is not there to have it otherwise.

Some will be difficult to measure like the “triple carbon zero” since there is hardly any Life Cycle Analysis data available of building materials in New Zealand. We have to start somewhere and this is our vision. Although there are many goals and sub-goals, important thoughts for us are “let your house work for you”, “begin with the end in mind” so think about disassembly and end of life value of the house and inspire change to current low quality, low comfort building standards in New Zealand.

1) Affordable for New Zealand and Northland

  • Low life cycle cost
  • NZ$300.000 (€190.000) investment to avoid large mortgage debt
  • Repetitive design possibility so others can use our model as affordable sustainable housing

2) Build small

  • Reduce footprint with 70-80 m2 home for family
  • Simplify life by building small

3) Triple carbon zero 

  • Embodied energy
    • Materials with low or negative life cycle impact
    • Use recycled material
    • Reduce and recycle waste
  • Operation
    • Passive solar design
    • High insulation
    • Air tightness
    • Low energy appliances
    • PV and solar heating
  • Disposal
    • Build for disassembly
    • High end of life value

4) Life span of 100 years

  • Use quality materials
  • Flexibility in design (expandable, change of function)
  • Beauty, aesthetically pleasing

5) Healthy and comfortable indoor environment, high standards for:

  • Temperature
  • Ventilation (passive)
  • Humidity
  • Noise
  • Natural light

6) Sustainable landscaping    

  • Increase biodiversity and natives
  • Storm water run off, rain garden
  • Little impermeable surface
  • Vegetable garden
  • Bee friendly
  • Fruit trees

7) Smart water system    

  • Collect, conserve and recycle water
  • On site waste water treatment, worm farm
  • Reduce length of warm water pipelines

8) Beauty, spirit and happiness    

  • Create a sense of place for higher wellbeing
  • Keep relationship with land
  • Inspire change
  • Take in views of landscape

9) Social inclusiveness     

  • Engage local industry

10) Education

  • Create website
  • Have open days
  • Hold presentations


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