Sustainable home ticks all the boxes

Sustainable home ticks all the boxes

Living in an area north of Auckland sporting 10 beaches within 20 minutes of each other and running a successful building business makes for a busy, challenging and satisfying life for Erik Graamans.
Having returned from overseas following gaining his builders qualifications in the late 90’s, Erik wasted no time in establishing his company Graamans Building Ltd (GBL).
That was back in 2008 and now, a decade later, there’s plenty of work on for Erik and his team of four builders. “All our projects in the past two years have come through word of mouth.
We’ve never struggled for work given the development of the northern motorway, and the continual growth in the surrounding area,” Erik says.
While Auckland is a mere 50 minutes drive on a good day, living at Point Wells, not far from Matakana, Erik and his family are able to enjoy the benefits of working and living in a somewhat quieter community.
GBL has recently finished an outstanding new environmentally friendly home in Matakana, which Erik describes as having ticked all the boxes. “It’s been an outstanding build with a great client, and I’ve enjoyed working with the green technologies that have been incorporated into this home.”
The home, set on a 1.6ha [roperty, presented many challenges, not least that its design hardly incorporated any parallel lines. “The external cladding and interior linings have been set out in grids with their angles all merging,” Erik explains.
Work on the home, which boasts a very small carbon foot-print, began in December last year and when Business North spoke with Erik in May, there was only a couple of weeks more work to do before handing over the keys.

Sustainable home ticks all the boxes
Graamans Building Ltd has just completed this outstanding new environmentally friendly home in Matakana.

 
Among the eco-friendly technologies several stand out., beginning with the placement of the home, which is perfectly north-west facing to maximise the latest solar panels which carry a 20-year warranty.
That positioning also means the large polished concrete slab will absorb massive amounts of sunlight through over-height windows and doors,
providing lots of radiant heat from the floor.
“The solar panels drive the power for large heatpumps, the home’s hot-water supply, under-floor heating and its general power,” sasy Erik.
“Also the capability of storing power in a battery bank, which can be built up if required in the future. That’s an outstanding use of solar energy.” The Biolytix sceptic system is also harnessing nature’s wisdom.
Black water is dealt with through a worm-farm while grey water is gently released through a 300 metre underground drip system. Outside, a ‘living pond’, replicating the way nature’s plants naturally filter and clean water, has been built.
The pond even boasts small jetties. “Water gets pumped from a lower pond through planting to clean it. You’ll be able to swim in the water, just like you would in a clean natural waterhole.”
Erik describes the insulation systems inside the home as absolutely next level, along with double glazing automated joinery specifically designed and positioned to maximise sunshine when required, and retain or release heat depending on the season.
“The slabs are also all fully insulated right down to ground level. This is a very architectural home and if you attempted to use all the technologies in a more standard-designed home you wouldn’t achieve the outstanding efficiency in terms of energy use, and therefore carbon-footprint.”
Inside, the kitchen and other cabinetry work has been constructed with a birch veneered ply, and along with the rest of the interior surfaces either natural clear stain or paint produced in New Zealand has been used.
Erik and the team are underway with another exceptional build in the form of a significant twolevel extension to an original Warkworth home, a 1930’s bungalow.
“We’re just at the framing stage and what is great about this large additional area is that it is a very modern design.
“It’s not trying to be the same as the original bungalow at all, and the way it is positioned on the section from the street you don’t see the extension.
“It’s very cleverly designed and will also incorporate some green technology including solar and water storage. We always look forward to the next challenge, and at the moment they are all unique projects , which are increasingly efficient and aware of the environment we live in.”
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