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Home > Example Homes > Sustainable eco house in Waitakere City

Sustainable eco house in Waitakere City

Home Details

Land Area
4000 m2 m2
Building area
180 m2 m2
Year built
4 bedroom(s), 1 bathroom(s)

1. Passive Solar Design

The house is divided into 2 aisles, separated by a conservatory, to open it up for the passive use of the sun's energy. The lounge/dining/kitchen wing (north-facing) has concrete floors exposed to the autumn and winter midday sun storing the heat and releasing it at night. Wide eaves keep the hot sun out in summer. The 'opening up' of the house by way of a conservatory space incorporates an internal concrete wall which is exposed to the winter midday sun and radiates warmth into the adjacent bedroom wing.

2. Further space heating

There is a solid fuel burner in the lounge with a high energy efficiency rating to top up the space heating requirements on cold winter days. A brick wall behind the heater stores heat for additional gains. A louver window above the heater allows heat to be transferred to the conservatory and the bedroom wing. Heat gathered in the conservatory can be transferred into the lounge by opening sliding doors.

3. Water

Roof water is collected in a buried concrete water tank and used for household and garden. Filters clean the water.

4. Wastewater

Wastewater is being collected in a composting system which uses worms for the biological break-up of solids and filters the liquids before they drain into a dispersal field covered with plants.

5. Water heating

A solar water heating panel on the roof heats the household water. With the sun's power being reduced in winter the solar heating of the water is complemented by a 'wetback' system which has a water pipe running through the back of the heater in the lounge heating the water as it passes through.

6. Insulation

A blend of wool and polyester insulation in roof and wall is above Building Code requirements in order to reduce heating requirements. Windows along the (cold) southern wall and in the conservatory have double glazing.

7. Timber construction

Plantation grown timbers (pine for construction, macrocarpa for interior, cedar for weatherboard, eucalyptus saligna for decks) have been used as sustainable alternatives to indigenous or rainforest timbers.

8. Indoor climate

A healthy indoor climate has been achieved by various means:
Natural bio-paints throughout the house,
toxin-free or low-toxic building materials minimise the amount of toxic gases released into the interior space,
ventilation devices and breathable walls help to exchange indoor air on a regular basis,
carpet-free floorings are easy to clean, thus reducing the build-up of dust mites which are responsible for allergies and asthma,
Good insulation and double glazing along the (cold) southerly wall prevent moisture build-up through condensation and thus remove breeding grounds for mould, fungus and mildew growth,
Main electric cables are placed away from bedrooms and rest areas in order to reduce electro-magnetic radiation.

This house was designed by:

Johann Bernhardt
Dipl Ing (Arch), PhD (Urban Des)
Cert. Building Biology and Ecology
Colleague NZIA
ph/fax 09 – 376 6767

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