Hi,

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We've received a number of enquiries from people who are looking for help with their own projects and we're thinking of ways in which we can offer that help.

If you have a project you'd like to discuss please let us know what stage of concept or design you're at, when you hope to start build, and where your house will be built.

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Thanks,
The ZEH team. 

           

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Project Goals

Goals

At the beginning of design we set out the following seven goals for the construction of the Zero Energy House: 

  1. Energy efficiency & greenhouse gases. Minimise household energy usage and maximise the use of renewable energy therefore reducing carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions from energy generation. These initiatives also provide a hedge against increasing energy costs.
  2. Low embodied energy. Minimise the embodied energy of the house by using products and materials which require minimal energy during processing, manufacture and transportation. 
  3. Water conservation. Reduce water use through low flow fittings and efficient appliances. This results in energy and resource efficiency by minimising supply and waste water infrastructure requirements and reduced water storage needs. Water efficiency results in a house with a greater ability to provide for its own water needs and reduces the cost of water supply and waste water disposal. 
  4. Health & comfort. Ensure a warm and dry building with good daylight and fresh air supply increasing the comfort, happiness and health of occupants. This also has the potential to reduce medical costs and days off work. 
  5. Waste minimisation. Landfill waste can be reduced by using materials efficiently, adopting recycling and reuse practises onsite and selecting construction materials that are recycled and recyclable. 
  6. Low pollutant emissions. Pollutant emissions can be reduced through the use low emission products and materials, stormwater management and environmental management during construction and operation. These initiatives reduce the impact on New Zealand's local environment (air, waterways and soil) and will help to improve the internal air quality of a home. 
  7. Durability. Durable materials and products can help to reduce maintenance and resource costs. It is important to assess durability based on life cycle analysis.

Design opportunities

Those seven goals allowed us to identify a number of design opportunities for the house.

The tables below group those design opportunities into eight core areas of the project. These areas are the foundation of the website and are reflected in the menu.

Colour coding in the tables is as follows:

Green indicates the design feature has a positive impact on the goal.
Orange indicates a negative impact on the goal.
Grey indicates both positive and negative impacts.

Site Energy Efficiency Low Embodied Energy Water Conservation Health & Comfort Waste Minimisation Low Pollutant Emissions Durability

Solar access [more]

  • Good solar access all year round to maximize passive solar heating benefits
  • Living areas and bedrooms located on the north side of the house to benefit from the warmer temperatures and more daylight
             

Public transport [more]

  • Excellent public transport links to commonly visited areas that cannot be accessed by walking and cycling
  • Reduces transport emissions
  • Supports city infrastructure and public transport workers
             

Walking and cycling [more]

  • Walking and cycling to main facilities including shops, cafes/restaurants, friends and work
  • Reduces transport emissions
  • Good for health and well-being
             

Topsoil retained onsite [more]

  • Topsoil kept on site during construction and used for planting
  • Avoids unnecessary transportation of soil to or from site
  • Minimising topsoil movement to help minimise disturbance of organisms in soil
  • Retain responsibility for soil regeneration
             

Onsite produce [more]

  • Allow for some self-sufficiency - espaliered fruit trees, vegetable patch, worm farm and micro-beehive
  • Good for health and well-being
             
Design Energy Efficiency Low Embodied Energy Water Conservation Health & Comfort Waste Minimisation Low Pollutant Emissions Durability

Solar access [more]

  • Living areas and bedrooms located on the north side of the house to benefit from the warmer temperatures and more daylight
             

Natural ventilation and shading [more]

  • Opening windows throughout to allow good natural ventilation.
  • Allow for future addition of shading features to reduced solar gain on summer days.
  • Use of vegetation over glazing to allow seasonal shading.
             

Optimally sized performance glazed windows [more]

  • Size and location of windows in frequently used living spaces optimised for good daylighting and solar gain, but minimal heat loss.
  • Good daylighting to minimise use of artificial lighting.
             
Structure Energy Efficiency Low Embodied Energy Water Conservation Health & Comfort Waste Minimisation Low Pollutant Emissions Durability

Well insulated thermally broken construction [more]

  • Ensuring walls, roof and floor are very well insulated and select thermally broken frames and low E double glazing to minimise heat loss through the building envelope.
  • This limits or removes the need for heating in the home reducing energy use and associated green house gas emissions and cost.
             

Green roof to entrance hallway [more]

  • Provides thermal mass reducing internal temperature fluctuations
  • Provides onsite stormwater treatment and control
             
Solar Energy Efficiency Low Embodied Energy Water Conservation Health & Comfort Waste Minimisation Low Pollutant Emissions Durability

Grid connected photovoltaic system [more]

  • Photovoltaic system to allow net zero energy use over a year.
  • Energy to be exported to the grid at times when generation exceeds local demand. Reduces and offsets use of grid electricity and associated emissions
  • Reduce exposure to rising electricity costs
             

Solar hot water system [more]

  • Solar water heating system for domestic hot water, minimising energy costs, electricity use and greenhouse gas emissions
  • Reduce exposure against rising electricity costs
             

Electric car charging [more]

  • Electric car charging facilities in garage to reduce the emissions from combustion of fossil fuels
  • Increased self sufficiency and reduced exposure to rising energy costs
             
Water Energy Efficiency Low Embodied Energy Water Conservation Health & Comfort Waste Minimisation Low Pollutant Emissions Durability

Water metering [more]

  • Include metering for hot and cold water uses to assist in water monitoring and leaks
  • Can assist in energy conservation by allowing users to monitor their high hot water usage
             

Rainwater harvesting and storage [more]

  • Rainwater harvesting and storage for toilet flushing and irrigation. Reduces the use of potable water and flow of wastewater to the sewer
             

Provision for grey water treatment and reuse [more]

  • Provide separate greywater and blackwater drainage from the building to allow for future greywater treatment and reuse.
  • Reduces the use of potable water and flow of wastewater to the sewer
             

Low flow sanitary fittings [more]

  • Reduce water flow
             
Fittings* Energy Efficiency Low Embodied Energy Water Conservation Health & Comfort Waste Minimisation Low Pollutant Emissions Durability

Exhaust for kitchen and bathroom [more]

  • Humidity controlled mechanical ventilation. Remove moist air from the building to maintain a healthy internal environment.
             

Energy metering [more]

  • Meter household supply and main household circuits to assist in energy monitoring and detection of unusually high energy loads
             

Lighting [more]

  • Use of energy efficiency fluorescent luminaires or LEDs in preference to other luminaires for the majority of areas. Reduces cost, waste and greenhouse gas emissions from grid electricity
             

* At this stage the fittings area of the website holds only lighting information. Over time it will expand to hold more content.

Materials Energy Efficiency Low Embodied Energy Water Conservation Health & Comfort Waste Minimisation Low Pollutant Emissions Durability

Timber construction - sustainably sourced [more]

  • Timber from local sustainably managed forest or reclamation yard.
             

Minimise timber treatment [more]

  • Timber treatment to no more than code minimum. Timber treatments are often toxic and harmful to the environment.
  • The treatment requirements for longevity should be balanced against the harmful effects of timber treatments.
             

Low formaldehyde composite wood products [more]

  • Some composite wood products contain high levels of formaldehyde which is released throughout the life of the product. Formaldehyde is harmful to human health.
             

Low impact thermal insulation [more]

  • Sustainably sourced and low environmental impact thermal insulation
  • Insulation that contains recycled material, is safe to handle, and can easily be recycled at end of life
  • It is important that the insulation maintains its thermal properties throughout it's life
             

Minimal finishes [more]

  • Reduces total embodied energy of the building, reduces the introduction of potentially harmful chemicals on to site, increases recyclability of the construction.
             

Low VOC products [more]

  • Low VOC paints, adhesives and sealants and other building products and furnishings.
       
   

Locally sourced products [more]

  • Locally sourced to minimise transportation emissions and embodied energy.
             
Waste Energy Efficiency Low Embodied Energy Water Conservation Health & Comfort Waste Minimisation Low Pollutant Emissions Durability

Onsite environmental management [more]

  • Onsite environmental and waste management plans during site works. Reduces waste sent to landfill
             

Efficient material use [more]

  • Use materials efficiently through planning cut lists and modular sizing of spaces
             

Waste minimisation and recycling [more]

  • Majority of construction waste recycled. Reduces waste sent to landfill