All over New Zealand, people are improving their quality of life by making their homes smarter.
Alterations and renovations
Makatoa-Leitz family home: Katja Lietz and Maka Makatoa turned their two bedroom bach at Huia, on the shores of the Manukau harbour west of Auckland, into a four bedroom family home.
Papakowhai renovation – insulate, insulate, insulate!: Full insulation and an efficient heat source led to substantial reticulated energy savings and indoor temperature improvements.
Hot in summer, freezing in winter – Lois’ Gisborne bungalow: Adding insulation and double glazing, and getting rid of moisture in the home, have improved temperatures and comfort.
Renovating for baby - Lisa’s story: Insulation, careful choice of paints and other materials, and good ventilation were keys to creating a safe haven for baby.
Learning about a property: To get the home they wanted, Julie and Matt started with a carefully chosen site.
Wairarapa - Matt and Julie's home: Walk into Matt and Julie’s rural Wairarapa home and the first thing you notice is the sense of space and light.
Low energy and affordable – the HomeSmart Home: Energy efficiency, passive solar design, good thermal envelope and energy generation produced a low energy and very affordable home for the family of six living in the house.
Saving energy in the Waitakere NOW Home: Designed with passive heating and energy efficiency in mind, this home performed very well for its tenants.
The benefits of a smarter home – the Waitakere NOW Home family’s experience: The family loved the social, health and cost-saving benefits of this house so much, they looked for the same features in their new house.
Flexible design in the Waitakere and Rotorua NOW Homes: Both houses were designed to be flexible and adaptable into the future.
Solar home - Nelson: Combining the right site with passive solar design means the temperature of Helen Richards' Nelson home has not dropped below 16 degrees since March 2004.
Concrete slab floors in the Waitakere and Rotorua NOW Homes: A polished concrete slab floor contributed to even and comfortable temperatures in the Waitakere NOW Home but the Rotorua NOW Home tenants covered their concrete floor reducing its effectiveness.
Retrofitting double glazing - Vicki’s home renovation: Double glazing has improved the warmth in this Wellington villa.
Insulation - Natalie’s home, Roxburgh: Natalie and her partner Paul have noticed an enormous difference in the comfort and warmth of their house since having ceiling and floor insulation installed.
Insulation - Andrea's home, Nelson: Ceiling and floor insulation made this Nelson home much warmer.
Downlights in Papakowhai homes: In this renovation research project, it was clear to see the impact of downlights on the homes’ performance.
Cooling down in Auckland - Jeremy’s story: Our renovation got a lot of things wrong, but the one thing we got right was summer cooling.
Insulation and home heating - Wanaka: Better insulation and an efficient woodburner were installed in this Wanaka rental home make it warmer, healthier and less damp.
Improved heating means better indoor temperatures in two Papakowhai houses: Full insulation and an efficient heat source led to substantial reticulated energy savings and indoor temperature improvements.
Solar water heating
Solar water heating: From north to south, solar water heating is giving New Zealand households a good supply of hot water at reduced cost.
Achieving good solar water heater performance: Beacon Pathway has used solar water heaters in five live research homes and there’s a lot to be learned about what works and what doesn’t.
The trials of getting solar water heating - Nick’s story: Reducing energy use from water heating by installing solar water heating proved a challenge, but a worthwhile one.
Lighting design in the Waitakere and Rotorua NOW Homes: Both homes were designed to maximise natural light and use efficient lighting. Monitoring of these live research homes confirmed what was – and wasn’t – successful.
Appliances chew up energy in the Waitakere NOW Home: Home entertainment systems and computers were energy guzzlers.
Saving water in the Waitakere NOW Home: A combination of rainwater harvesting and water-efficient tapware, toilets and appliances reduced water use in the Waitakere NOW Home to only 85 litres per person per day.
Water re-use and efficiency in the NZ Housing Foundation’s HomeSmart Home: A greywater system, rainwater and water-efficient appliances in the NZ Housing Foundation’s HomeSmart Home reduced water use – and water bills.
Battling the summer heat drought in Gisborne: As droughts have put the pressure on water use, a rainwater tank is watering the garden, and plumbing maintenance has reduced indoor water use too.
Sustainable Habitat Challenge 2009 – Central Otago straw bale house: This very well-insulated house won the New Build category.
Sustainable Habitat Challenge 2009 – the Whareuku earth house: This low-cost, flax-fibre reinforced earthen house won commendations for innovation and vision.
Construction waste in the Waitakere NOW Home: Reducing waste was easier said than done during construction of the Waitakere NOW Home.
The environmental impact of the Waitakere NOW Home: A new case study indicates that the greatest environmental impact of a house is not during construction or manufacturing, but from its operation over the life of the house.