A few weeks ago our Resource Consent was approved so we are all good to go and build. Hurray. Reasons behind building a small sustainable home are not only reducing the environmental footprint of the home, live a lifestyle based on what you really need but
Although we still have some time as we haven’t been able to secure a builder yet we are progressing with the wall and roof panel ordering. As our SIP’s (Structural Insulated Panels) for the wall and roof are all pre-fabricated and cut to the exact dimensions Panel Layout Drawings are created by Formance to determine
As there is no sewage system in Pahi we need an onsite waste water treatment system for both grey (all household wastewater from showers, baths, laundry, washing basins) and black water (kitchen sink, dishwasher and toilets). Options are a sceptic tank or more advanced multi chamber oxygen based (aerobic) sy
Since there will be no cost for heating or cooling our home with a passive solar design the biggest energy consumer in our home will be for hot water. Hot water heating accounts for around 30% of the average household energy bill and over the course of a year, most kiwi households spend more money
While we don’t have other options than to collect rainwater and dispose of our waste water on-site there is an electricity connection to our site. So the question is to be or not to be grid connected? Decisions to go on or off-grid seem to revolve around costs, resilience and independence and use of renewable
Meet Gnarler, Rosie, Powerranger and Heihei our new chickens. Previously I wrote about the carbon footprint of the average Kiwi household. One third of the footprint is food related mostly caused by emissions of eating red meat. Another little step in our journey is getting chickens to provide more local and low carbon food.
In order to keep our energy consumption to a minimum the home is designed to use the principles of passive solar and pasive ventilation. It means there will ben no active heating or cooling system like a heat pump and it will be heated by the sun only. To achieve this the following strategies have
Getting excited that we are finally making some progress again and we need to decide what the building method will be for our home. It needs to be able to achieve proper insulation levels and air tightness. It needs to be available, affordable and suitable for our site. Above all the performance should last
The boundary of our section slightly runs into the pine forest next to our section. When we bought it I thought we had an asset on our land with about 20 pine trees. Pine trees are planted all over Northland to make money right. Well it turns out they are more of a nuisance than
The embodied energy of a home is the energy consumed by all of the processes associated with the production of a building, from the mining and processing of natural resources to manufacturing, transport and product delivery. Different studies [1.2] show that the embodied energy takes up a maximum of 10% of lifetime energy use for a home.
When we are talking about sustainable homes a lot of times it is about reducing energy and carbon emissions. While I like to know more about the carbon footprint of building a home (the "embodied energy") and the footprint of operational use later on, I think it is also good to look at those numbers relative to other emissions we
Although I don't expect much support from the New Zealand government regarding funding and support to transition to a low carbon economy due to a bad track record on climate change action, lack of policies and effective strategies I thought it still a useful exercise to see if there is any funding, subsidy, tax deduction
While looking for examples of sustainable houses in New Zealand I stumbled across a few useful websites that I'd like to share. Living big in a tiny house. This site posts videos and blogs about people living in tiny houses in New Zealand.
When I tell people we are going to build a small sustainable house their vision of what kind of house it will be varies a lot. Some think we are going to build an earth-ship or use recycled materials, others think of a high-tech zero energy home or a Cradle to Cradle home. So what
In other blogs I wrote about our sustainability goals and different concepts and definitions of sustainability in the built environment. Over the years different frameworks have been developed to assess sustainability of homes. The best known rating tools for homes are BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method) in the UK, LEED (Leadership in Energy
Why build a small house? There are multiple ways to answer this question. Why build a small house at all or why not a tiny or a big house? So here are our reasons for choosing a small sustainable home: Cost
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
Our decision to build a sustainable small house was shaped by quite a number of factors. We want to create a high-quality, practical and effective structure that has the lowest possible impact on its surrounds. And above that there are bigger, global reasons for taking this journey.
Climate change and greenhouse gases are not the only