Chch exemplar homes lead the way
New design ideas, technologies and building techniques were showcased in Christchurch recently where some of the greenest, best designed homes in New Zealand were opened to the public.
Organised by the Superhome Movement in partnership with the Christchurch City Council, the exemplar homes’ tours in May were an effective demonstration of just how much can be achieved through superior design and build practices geared towards creating better homes.
The 10 exemplar homes were built across a range of budgets and architectural styles but shared common qualities including exceptional energy efficiency, smart design, and quality construction focused on resilience and environmental soundness.
Healthy, warm and dry homes were the result.
From a compact ultra-low energy beachside home packed with innovation to a high performance super home in Merivale, the inspiring line-up was food for thought for the many homeowners and industry participants who took part in the tours.
Well-designed spaces, solar energy, high insulation standards and good quality heat recovery ventilation systems were amongst many prominent features.
“All these homes are frontrunners in terms of where we are heading and how our building standards are changing,” says Rachel Hu, who coordinated the 2017 exemplar homes tours.
“They are all better performing, better designed homes with cheaper running costs than is standard.
“A lot of people who are thinking about building, or are in the process of designing or building, are really interested in finding out how they can achieve something like this for themselves.”
Particularly impressive to many who went on the tours was a Riccarton Superhome designed by Bob Burnett Architecture and built by Dan Saunders Construction.
Representing the latest advances, it is another step forward again on last year’s outstanding 10 Homestar demonstration home and has been informally dubbed “the 11-star”.
Passive House building methodologies, making use of air tight structural insulated panels and XLam panels, enabled this house to go up in just two and a half days.
“You can achieve much better quality control and better use of materials by building off-site in a controlled environment,” Rachel observes, adding that the Superhome Movement is not about promoting one particular approach over another.
The industry led movement promotes open source sharing of ideas for those committed to creating better places to live.
“If a customer comes to us wanting to build a superhome, we’re not going to recommend a particular direction.
Instead, we give them a list of people and as much information as we can provide.”
While the Superhome Movement is a recent development, having been founded by Martin Reilly and Bob Burnett i n Christchurch two years ago, it is rapidly taking root across New Zealand.
The concept was launched in Auckland and Wellington in late 2016, with Queenstown the latest centre to get on board in May.
Its fundamental goal is to lift the quality of new homes being built in New Zealand.
“The current building code is the lowest possible standard permitted for building in New Zealand.
It should not be used as a benchmark and it is not about best performance.
“Many people are starting to realise this and want something better and that’s what we’re here for, to provide a reliable source of information and industry contacts to help them achieve that goal.”
Along with the exemplar homes, the Superhome Movement recently showcased Canterbury’s first certified passive house, an award winning home that maintains a constant air temperature with no heating or cooling required, resulting in massive power savings.
Other energy efficient features include blown-in insulation, much wider than standard walls, vapour check products and tapes, ventilation systems delivering clean controlled air and energy efficient windows.