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Home > Example Homes > The West Birdhouse

The West Birdhouse

Home Details

Land Area
196627 m2 m2
Building area
198 m2 m2
Year built
2011
Rooms
4 bedroom(s), 3 bathroom(s)
When we decided to build a home within a 50 acre block of forest in Matakana, the cost to bring power to the site would have been many tens of thousands of dollars. So instead we put solar panels on the roof, a battery in the basement, and now we have a home that's completely off-grid.

Built by The House Company, we tried to make the house as energy efficient as possible. Passive solar supplies the majority of the heating, with a wood burner to help on the coldest winter days. Wool insulation and double glazing help to retain as much heat as possible. Louvres provide cross ventilation for passive cooling.

The design consists of dual two story gabled roof buildings joined by a gallery. The kitchen, main living and mezzanine occupy one building, while the other has bathrooms and bedrooms. An insulated floating concrete slab provides wetback-fed underfloor heating. In addition to the 198 m² building floor area, the house has 91m² of eco-decking.

3.3kW of solar panels power the electrical system, with an 80kWh battery in the basement to cover sunlight deficits. There is a generator backup but we have never needed to use it. Compact fluorescents and efficient appliances combined with gas cooking and water heating keep the electrical draw to a minimum.

Water is collected from the roof and solar-pumped to a header tank. Gravity provides the water pressure passively.

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