Shaping lives through smart design

Shaping lives through smart design
Three main factors to consider when building a Superhome are orientation, insulation and ventilation Jo-Anne says.

Jo-Anne Hitchcock, principal of H Architecture has always loved houses and their ability to shape people’s lives. So it’s no surprise she has become one of the Auckland advocates for the Superhome Movement.
“Almost all houses built today in New Zealand are built to the minimum standard allowed by law, which is well below what is acceptable by other developed countries.
“This means that most kiwis are living in cold damp houses that are unhealthy and costly to run due to inefficient design, building and poor quality building materials,” she says.
The New Zealand based non-profit initiative was started around three years ago and aims to create transformative change in the New Zealand building industry through education, supporting good business and lobbying for change.
Jo-Anne says there are three main factors to consider when designing a Superhome: orientation, insulation and ventilation.
Get these right and you will be well on your way to creating a warm, healthy home. She is adamant building a Superhome doesn’t have to cost a lot more if it is done right.
For example orientation is simply a design consideration to make sure the home is orientated for correct solar gain and shading optimised to prevent overheating.
She recommends heat/energy recovery ventilation to eliminate moisture and improve health and high performance thermal envelope insulation without thermal bridges.
Other factors to consider are energy-efficient heating, windows, foundations, air tightness, moisture control, sustainable materials and construction. Which are most important will be dictated by where the house is to be built and the client’s budget, says Jo-Anne.
“I’m a very practical person but my heart is in the designing. Solving people’s housing problems, making their lives easier and more pleasant,” she says.
Shaping lives through smart design
As a qualified architectural designer, Jo-Anne is passionate about building homes that are healthy to live in. Based in Auckland she mainly works in this city but is able to work anywhere in New Zealand her clients need her.
Because of her role in the new Superhome Movement Jo-Anne says, with a smile, that people are starting to refer to her as ‘superwoman’.

Shaping lives through smart design
The Superhome Movement’s aim is to ensure all new homes in New Zealand are healthy, warm and efficient.

While a new concept in New Zealand, the idea of healthy warm homes is standard in places like Europe and the aim of the Superhome Movement is to see the same happen in New Zealand. “Does your home give you a feeling of joy and uplift you? Or is it just a collection of rooms?
Our goal is to raise standards so that all new homes are healthier and more energy efficient, while also promoting environmental, economic, and socially sustainable practices.
We’re just trying to build better homes because we need better building standards to support the health and wellbeing of New Zealanders, now and in the future.”
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