When builder Logan Bergs and project manager Andrei Martin joined forces to launch a new building company called LiteGreen in 2015, the principle of sustainability was uppermost in their minds.
Not content to settle for ‘code minimum’ standards, the pair’s vision was to aim for better quality durable homes that would be stylish, comfortable, healthy and affordable, built using sustainable design principles.
To showcase their vision, LiteGreen built a concept home in 2016 that featured on Grand Designs in November that year. (As fate would have it, the programme went to air on TV3 on the same night as the Kaikoura earthquake).
This three-bedroom plus study home with open plan living combines an outstanding architectural design by Alessandro Quadrelli with a state of the art building solution.
It was built by LiteGreen using a structurally insulated panel (SIPS) product called Habitech, conferring a high level of energy efficiency throughout via super insulated 170mm thick walls.
Built on TC3 land, this home rests on piles and has a concrete flooring system with hydronic underfloor heating.
With air tightness prioritised in the design and build, alongside effective mechanical ventilation, this home maintains an even air temperature yearround and a very healthy internal air environment. Maintenance-free recycled and reclaimed hardwood timber was used to finish the home.
“They filmed the whole build for Grand Designs,” says LiteGreen’s general manager Martin Thompson. “The real challenge for us was that no-one was ready for just how quickly we were building.”
“Habitech panel is unique to New Zealand: as well as being cost competitive and structurally superior, the external skin of the panel is also the cladding so it means you have a much faster build time.”
One look at LiteGreen’s stunning concept house has been enough to convert many to the qualities of Habitech SIPS as a home building material. LiteGreen has exclusive New Zealand rights to this panel product.
While the 204sqm concept home has since been sold, the principles it embodies continue to inspire and inform LiteGreen’s building practice. The company is part of the Superhome Movement, which is focussed on raising stand ards in the New Zealand building industry.
LiteGreen has three homes featured this June in the Christchurch Superhome Exemplar Tour: one at Pegasus in North Canterbury, another in Cashmere Rd (under construction) and a third at Brookhaven.
“All of these homes follow the same principles by creating a thermal envelope with insulated flooring and using either Habitech SIPS or 140mm thermally broken timber frame and combining that with good heating and ventilation.”
As Martin observes, part of their job is educating people so that they’re not so much thinking about ‘schist or cedar’ so much as ‘how is my home going to perform?’ “As more people start living in these sorts of houses and realising how much better they are to live in, then demand for them will continue to grow.”
Meanwhile, LiteGreen is preparing to launch a new offshoot business in April called LMA Timber, importing recycled and reclaimed timber from Australia as a maintenance-free, sustainable alternative to cedar.
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