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10 Star Eco Home in Papamoa

Written by Ben McConnell


The 10 star home in Papamoa, built by Ecostar Homes, provides a perfect example of how eco-friendly homes are now affordable, energy efficient, and best of all healthy and aesthetically stunning.

Often we hear naysayers claiming eco homes are too expensive, frustrating to research, and often tricky to build.  This of course is just a knee jerk reaction to the common misconception of present day eco home builds.

Recently the crew at Ecobob had the pleasure of viewing the 10 star home built exclusively by Ecostar Homes in Papamoa. The house was impressive to say the least, aesthetically pleasing to the eye; but the real meat and bones of the home was its ability to transcend great design into form and eco function.

Paul from The Belvedere Group (parent company of Ecostar Homes) was gracious enough to give the Ecobob team, along with the general public, the run down on the build. Paul explained how every aspect of the home was constructed, along with how each piece of the puzzle came together to serve the eco efficient purpose.

Paul stated, “We want everyone to have an affordable, healthy, money-saving home”. This statement perfectly encapsulates the reason why all would be home owners should consider purchasing, or at least consider researching, eco homes. Ecostar homes build and construct with tried and true methods that work to provide you and your loved ones with a home that is not only healthy and sustainable, but a pleasure to live and exist in.

We discussed all the eco features of Ecostar home builds, as well as all the cost savings now available to customers from all walks of life. Customers needn’t have deep pockets or life threatening mortgages, price and accessibility of present day eco home builds are seriously competitive with the mainstream building community. Not to mention the lack of enthusiasm of the current building market that treats building homes with an almost mundane and product line assembly like mentality.

Ecostar Homes start from $1,680/m2 and up to $2,000-$2,500/m2, depending on the features, and the size, and the level of rating that you want to go for.    The price is comparable Stonewood Home’s average cost of $1693 /m2 and Golden Homes average of $1665 /m2.  The 4 bedroom, 10 star rated home has been valued at $975,000.00.

Surprised at just how competitive the range of eco homes cost to build, Paul explained;

“Normal procedure would be that an architect would be drawing the plans and then you get them priced, but we’ve started at the slab and we’ve optimised all the plans to sheet sizes and we’ve had all the framing designed to be as economical as possible. Then, we’ve aligned ourselves with some key suppliers and put features in as standard for all our homes, so we get better deals on them.”

Paul and Belvedere’s Ecohome business are not only smart, but savvy too –making use of recycling waste products from the building site i.e. reusing timber normally discarded as nogging etc. Anything and everything that can be recycled will be considered before being designated to a landfill.

When it comes to energy bills, Paul stated that the 10 star home should be considered cost neutral;

“In the winter you’re going to use more energy and you’re going to have bills, but in the summer, when you’re generating (power) during the day and so on, it (power) will go back to the grid, which you should get credits for”.

Ecostar Homes estimate that the 10 star home annual savings will be in the ballpark of  $3,800 a year, as of 2015. Rising house prices are a major concern to all New Zealanders, relief can be found knowing that there are smart and innovative ways to mitigate rising housing costs!

Ecostar Homes have aligned the company with the New Zealand Green Building Council’s rating scheme, collectively known as Homestar.  All Ecostar Homes will be built with a rating between 7 stars and 10 stars, providing the consumer with confidence and reassurance.

There are many eco features that make the 10 star home in Papamoa exceed the Homestar strict requirements… but here are a few that grabbed our attention.

It has R4 insulation levels in the walls and R5 in the ceilings, going above and beyond the regulated building code.  The homes are built for passive solar with 10% of the windows that work as opening windows; this is for natural ventilation throughout the home.

The home has skylights that have automatic openers via sensors, when the house reaches a certain temperature level they’ll open automatically for your convenience.  And alternatively when it rains, they’ll close automatically.

The roof is pitched at 30 degrees, which takes into consideration the best angle for both the solar panels (PV) and solar hot water system.

Solar water collectors ensure the hot water cylinder is topped up, upon the temperature reaching it’s peak, the hot water is then transferred through to the underfloor heating system.

The underfloor heating system subtracts excess power from the PV system before power proceeds into batteries or out to the grid.  The solar PV’s systems number one priority is to feed power to any electrical appliance that is on in the house at the time.

Not only are Ecostar Home builds conscious of the environment, they are excellent for the health of your family and loved ones. All paints and materials that are used in the build meet Homestars strict health criteria and everything is VOC free. Paul mentions,  “The timber used, all the FSC decking, and everything we use either has an environmental certification label, like the Environmental Choice, FSC or one of the ISO 14001 standards.”

Interestingly, Paul brings to light the importance of thinking about eco features from the very first phase of build – the design, “It’s difficult to take some of these plans that’s just been drawn as a normal plan by an architect, and make it eco (friendly). It’s not really the philosophy behind it. You have to start from scratch.”

Ecostar Homes are not limited to one set house plan; in fact, they have quite a few modern and stylish homes for the customer to select from.  Most noticeably, they are all customisable to the purchaser’s personal tastes and appreciations.

On behalf of the eco community warriors looking to recycle as many materials as possible, I queried Paul on whether Belvedere’s Ecohome business could accommodate those wishing to use recycled materials as part of a new build, “definitely, we’re currently working with someone that wants to use recycled timber as sarking in the ceiling and we used recycled brick from Napier as a feature in the showhome”. We we’re really happy to hear this, as other companies have often struggled to answer this question.

So there you have it, a brief but exciting run down of a 10 star home built right here in New Zealand, a country that has been surprisingly slow to embrace Eco home living. Eco homes are now attainable and logical for people or families wanting to build their own house. Naysayers are struggling to form a coherent argument, and big electrical companies are trying to green wash out of date practices and we believe everyday New Zealander’s are starting to realise this.

Eco homes are better for your health, they save you money, and you are doing your part in maintaining the environment to a suitable standard.  And of course it needn’t be a 10 star home, just look at Eco homes 7 star builds, you would be saving $1,800 a year on power bills alone.  The way Paul looks at, you are saving as much as your rates cost each year, and it really is that simple.  It’s a logical extension in the evolution of how homes are built; it’s great to see companies like Ecostar Homes providing a key-turn solution for all of New Zealand.

Click here to find out more details about the 10 star eco home.

View the house plan called Brunswick by Ecostar Homes here.

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