The Eco Design Advisor Conference 2017 in Wellington was another excellent event.

Eco Designer Advisor Conference 2017

Prefabrication, high performance homes, indoor air quality, Homestar, sustainable concrete and airtightness are just some of the topics presented at this year’s Eco Design Advisor (EDA) Conference in Wellington, May 1st – 2nd.

Some fortuitous free time allowed me to attend this small conference once again. And once again, I was impressed.

Eco Design Advisors

Eight councils across New Zealand currently have an EDA. If you’re in one of these regions and want some specific advice to make your home warmer and healthier, then give your local EDA a call. It’s incredibly valuable, and free!

The Eco Design Advisor Service

The EDA service usually involves a home visit to look at your specific situation and discuss your needs and concerns about anything from insulation to heating, draught-proofing or water efficiency. Advice is specific and independent. These guys are not trying to sell you anything, instead they’re completely passionate about wanting to help people to be more comfortable and healthy in our homes.

The State of New Zealand Homes

Being comfortable and healthy should be a basic requirement of a house. Unfortunately most New Zealand homes are far from this basic threshold and our EDAs have a big job to do!

Results from the latest BRANZ House Condition Survey are shocking, but unfortunately not surprising to most in the room.
Results from the latest BRANZ House Condition Survey are shocking, but unfortunately not surprising to most in the room.

Among good news stories and successful case studies, these conferences tend to include some sobering statistics. This year we had a preview of findings from the recent round of BRANZ House Condition Survey, for example:

  • Only 39% of sampled NZ homes have more than 120 mm ceiling insulation
  • 31% of homes with ceiling insulation have significant gaps in that insulation
  • Around 15% of rental properties still used portable gas heaters as their main form of heating and 6% of rentals use portable gas heaters in bedrooms! (Note, portable gas heaters are banned in many other countries, and they should be banned here too. Don’t use them!)

The Good News

EDAs are here. Anne Salmond is doing beautiful, energy efficient design. Designers and builders are learning about the value of airtightness. NZGBC is working to improve their suite of rating tools. Technology advances in solar, carbon reinforcing and battery storage are opening up exciting alternative design solutions… And there’s more.

Jon Davies of Pro Clima provided explains that we're asking too much of our simple wall linings, and offered a great solution.
Jon Davies of Pro Clima explained that we’re asking too much of our simple wall linings, and offered a great solution.
CCANZ provided some examples of technology solutions to make concrete more sustainable.
CCANZ provided some examples of technology solutions to make concrete more sustainable.
Slab edge insulation - one of my favourite topics!
Slab edge insulation – one of my favourite topics! (see CCANZ for more)

EDAs – Use Them or Lose Them

With such an important and valuable service, you’d think Eco Design Advisors would be a no-brainer for all Councils around New Zealand. Unfortunately this is not the case and the EDA are continually having to fight for funding. You can help, by letting them help you. Book a free appointment today, get loads of independent advice, then tell your Council how great it was!

Update: Some presentations from the event are now available at: http://www.ecodesignadvisor.org.nz/