Beacon Pathway’s Waitakere NOW Home® proves that an affordable modern home that looks like any other in the street can also be warm, dry,healthy, and kind to the environment.
Completed with modern, readily available materials and design methods, the house cost just $220,000 to build in 2005.
The home was Beacon's first live research project. An “ordinary” New Zealand family (Joe, Hayley and their two sons) lived in the home for two years while the home’s performance was extensively monitored.
The results were impressive. Right from the start, the family loved the NOW Home®. They had come from a cold, damp house where they needed dehumidifiers on 24/7 and which was hard to heat. What a change! Sun poured into the new house during the day, and at night, warmth radiated off the polished concrete floor. All the extra insulation and double glazing kept the warmth in. They enjoyed the even heat through all the rooms – no cold back bedrooms. They only needed to get out a small fan heater for a couple of cold days in winter – the rest of the time they needed no extra heating.
A warm house is generally a dry house. Joe and Hayley didn’t unpack their dehumidifiers at all – there was no condensation and no mould. Their son’s asthma improved rapidly and they were delighted to find after three months that he had hardly needed his nebuliser at all.
Joe and Hayley loved the solar water heater which provided over half of the household’s hot water. They always had plenty of hot water, and even better, they could see the savings on their power bills. In water heating alone, they were saving approximately $367 per year.
In fact, with little space heating, their power bills dropped considerably. They were paying 45% less than in their previous home, and 33% less than other 4 person households in the area.
Water in the Auckland region is metered and can be a big cost to households. The good news for Joe and Hayley was that their rainwater tank provided 47%-52% of their water needs, and the low flow taps and shower heads, dual flush toilets and water efficient washing machine reduced their water use to half the average in surrounding Waitakere City.
An added advantage of the double glazing was the peace and quiet. Even though their house was near a busy road, the noise did not bother Joe and Hayley. They described themselves as the Pink Batts family from the advertisement who did not want to go outside.
Best of all for Joe and Hayley was the confidence and family happiness they noticed since moving into the NOW Home®. They started having friends around as the house was pleasant and spacious for entertaining. Joe commented that a good house positively contributes to strong family relationships. Their boys are healthier and more confident, and Hayley says they just don’t get the winter blues.
Read more about the Waitakere NOW Home® project and its results at: