Good Homes

We pretty much know what’s in them, but where are all the good homes in New Zealand? And what is it specifically that makes them good?

A common response from a survey I posted recently, was that people want to know about other people who have designed and built ‘good homes‘, and how they did it. This makes a lot of sense as we can all learn from others’ experiences and avoid re-inventing the wheel.

It’s also nice to sit back and look at some pictures of good houses.

What’s a Good Home?

I’m using the term ‘good home‘ here to suggest that it’s good for people, good for the bank balance and good for the planet. Some might call that ‘sustainable‘.

I’m pretty flexible on the terminology, but the word ‘good’ struck me as very appropriate earlier this year when I heard a presentation about the topic. At first it may seems a rather uninspiring, bland adjective, but I kind of like the implication that other houses without the features of these exemplars, are not good. And I think that’s fair.

Where Are the Good Homes?

This is by no means an exhaustive list and I want to acknowledge Phil McLean (Stretch and Grow House, podcast episode 33) for his excellent, freely available Google Map of Innovative Housing Projects in New Zealand.

The table below is simply what I came up with off the top of my head. I’ve tried to cover the country, but I know there are many more worthy contenders, and I’d love to add them.

So please leave a comment below, send me an email, or post on Facebook with other suggestions of what to add to the list!

For starters though, here’s a selection of my favourite good homes around New Zealand.

NameLocationSelected Key Features
PH1NZ - New Zealand's First Passive House
Glendowie, Auckland
  • First certified Passivhaus in Australasia.
  • Very high levels of insulation
  • Blower door tested to achieve airtightness
  • Rain water collection
  • Heat recovery ventilation system

Beacon Parthway Waitakere NOW Home
Beacon Waitakere NOW Home
  • 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom, 146 m2 family home
  • Optimised orientation for the sun
  • High levels of insulation
  • Solar water heating
  • Rain water collection and water efficient fittings
Beacon Pathway Rotorua NOW Home
Beacon Rotorua NOW Home
  • 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom, 141 m2 family home
  • Optimised orientation for the sun
  • High levels of insulation
  • Solar water heating
  • Rain water collection and water efficient fittings
  • Low emission pellet burner for space heating
Earthsong Buildings
Ranui, Auckland
  • Eco-Neighbourhood built in 2001 (stage I) through to 2008 (stage II)
  • Variety of housing sizes, plus a Common House
  • Compact house design
  • Non-toxic materials
  • Passive solar design
  • Use of rammed earth construction
  • 8 Star Home Energy Rating
Little Greenie
Little Greenie
Golden Bay
  • 1 bedroom holiday home
  • Passive solar design
  • Off-grid electricity supply
  • Highly insulated German window systems
  • Composting toilet
  • Solar/boiler combined inslab heating
  • 9 Star Home Energy Rating
Zero Energy House
Zero Energy House
Point Chevalier, Auckland
  • Compact, two storey design
  • Located on site for maximum use of the sun
  • Innovative, integrated PV roof tiles to generate electricity
  • Double frame wall system to increase R-value with little additional cost
  • Water efficient fittings throughout
  • Low VOC paints & untreated timber cladding
  • Non-PVC cabling and pipes
iDEAL House
iDEAL House
Beachlands, Auckland
  • Currently in design and consenting phase
  • Objective to be one of the 'most efficient in New Zealand, whilst keeping to a mainstream budget'
  • High levels of insulation
  • Air-tight construction with heat exchange ventilation
  • Double glazed, low E windows
  • Rainwater harvesting
  • 'Open source' design process
Havelock North
  • Completed in 2012
  • Built to 6 Homestar, with no more than 5% cost premium
  • High levels of insulation
  • Use of renewable energy
  • Wise selection of products and materials
  • Excellent waste management during construction (cutting landfill by 75%)
Warmframe High Performance House
Warmframe High Performance House
HIVE Home Innovation Village, Christchurch
  • Completed in 2013
  • Modular, pavillion design available in a range of sizes
  • High levels of insulation
  • Double glazed windows with thermally broken frames
  • Wood pellet burner
  • Low VOC cabinetry and finishes
  • PV solar renewable energy
  • Solar water heating
  • Rainwater collection
  • Lifemark design principles
HIVE Home Innovation Village, Christchurch
  • Completed in 2013
  • Passive heating, cooling and ventilation
  • High levels of insulation
  • Naturally durable, non-treated framing
  • Energy and water efficient appliances
  • Low VOC cabinetry and finishes

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  • Kara Rosemeier

    Great! The proof of the pudding is as always in the eating, so it would be good to have a list of post-occupancy evaluations to go with these houses. That way it was possible to judge their degree of goodness against a set of goals rather than their aspirations.