Info & News
We would like to announce the launch of the zeroenergyhouse.co.nz, an evolving design resource based on the zero energy house that we will be building in the Auckland subrurb of Point Chevalier in 2010-2011. Following the project design and building performance, the website will provide a practical and independent case study of what can be done, why and how.
What is the Zero Energy House Website Project?
As with any house build, there are number of design decisions to be made. Building a Zero Energy House is made more complicated because many of the design decisions, building processes and technologies are relatively new in the industry. There is no single source of information for a build of this type, and as a result we are spending many, many hours collating information from multiple sources and weighing up each component of the design against the whole. We would like to share this information with building professionals and other people considering building a house of this type, with the aim of making a Zero Energy House project less daunting for future builds, thus enabling more of them to be built. As with the design and build of our own home, the intention is to minimize impact on the environment as much as possible – the website aims to achieve this at an industry level. We have built the core website at www.zeroenergyhouse.co.nz and are documenting and publishing our design decisions as we make them.
What is a Zero Energy House?
A building which, over the course of a year, produces at least as much energy as it uses. In practical terms this means the house generates an amount of energy onsite using renewable energy systems (in our case photovoltaics and solar water heating) that is equal to (or more than) the amount consumed from the grid (electricity will be the only imported energy source used in our house). However building a Zero Energy House is not just about installing energy systems; equally important is to design the building in a way that minimizes energy requirements, site environmental impacts and maximises the comfort and health of those living in the building.
Why are we building one?
The fundamental principle in building a Zero Energy House is to minimize impact on the environment – this is something we are both passionate about. In addition we want to build a home that is healthy and comfortable to live it, and that minimises our exposure to future energy and climate changes. We are both qualified engineers with 12 years experience between us working in the sustainable and renewable construction industries in the UK, Europe, Australia and New Zealand. From this experience we know that a Zero Energy House is both possible and feasible in Auckland. We returned to New Zealand from London in 2007 with the expectation that we would be able to buy such a house, and after a year of searching realized we would need to build our own.