As leading sustainable home builders in NZ, the team at Craft Homes has expert insight into sustainable building practices and the challenges they present. We want to share our knowledge with the public so anyone and everyone can make more informed decisions about their new build homes, so we’ve put together a new eBook entitled, “Building a Sustainable Future: 12 Tips for Building a Sustainable Home, and How Craft Homes Can Help.”
The eBook covers 12 key points that we’ve chosen to highlight to help prospective homeowners better prepare for a sustainable build project, and will be released shortly. In this blog, we’ve taken three of the twelve tips, to give you a sample of what you can expect.
What is sustainable building?
Before we get into the first of our sample tips, it’s important to clearly define a sustainable building.
A sustainable building is one that minimises the environmental impacts of both constructing and running a home. When most think of sustainable homes, they tend to focus on how a home will run and disregard the initial building processes. Here at Craft Homes, we ensure that we cover both sides of the coin.
A standard build process is, typically, not very environmentally friendly. A significant amount of energy and materials are used to build or renovate a home, and there’s often a lot of waste left over. To construct an energy-efficient, sustainable home, a range of alternative techniques need to be employed.
Small changes can make a big difference to the final state of a build, especially when the changes are implemented early. These translate into massive energy savings down the line. The three sample tips below are just a few examples of these sorts of small changes!
1. Plan, then do
A high-performance home doesn’t happen by accident. Significant effort needs to go into planning your project before you begin to ensure it’s both functional and environmentally friendly. Building or renovating your home is often one of—if not the—biggest investments of your life, and many homeowners can’t afford to get it wrong, particularly those who are looking to build for the first time.
The best way to plan is to use an integrated design team to kick-start the process. This team should include an architectural designer, builder, and, where appropriate, engineers and suppliers, too. All elements of sustainability and energy-efficiency should be considered as part of this holistic approach. Establishing solid relationships with builders and suppliers from the beginning can propel your project on a smooth trajectory.
We make a valuable addition to any integrated design team, bringing our extensive experience in sustainable building to the table. What’s more, the Craft Homes team are New Zealand Homestar® Practitioners and Assessors and Certified Passive House Trade qualified, giving you independent assurance that we are certified sustainable builders.
2. Know your site
This may seem obvious, but you’ll be surprised at how many build projects overlook the importance of having a complete understanding of the site! Whether you’re looking for the perfect building site or renovating on an existing site, there are key factors you need to consider. Knowing how big your site is, which views you want to make use of, and where exactly the sun will rise and set throughout the year can profoundly change the way a build should be carried out. Factoring these in before beginning construction is important as these are much more costly to change later.
Knowing your site also includes understanding council planning rules, covenants, subdivision rules, and so on. Having a firm grasp of the regulations surrounding any site is the best way to help you choose the right one. To help with this, Craft Homes offers a free, no-obligation site meeting to help guarantee that your chosen site will fit your needs.
3. Consider Passive Design
Passive design is all about harnessing the air’s natural movement and the sun’s light and warmth to heat, cool and ventilate your home. How
you position your house in relation to the sun’s path and prevailing winds is crucial to passive design.
Passive design also considers thermal mass. This is the ability of materials (e.g., concrete, brick, or tile) to absorb the sun’s warmth during the day
and release it slowly at night. Using these materials in certain areas of your house essentially provides you with another free heating source.
These techniques reduce the need for mechanical heating or cooling and provide significant energy savings, all year round. Talk to the Craft Homes team about the products and materials you can use in your home to enable passive design. We’ve built a number of eco homes harnessing passive solar design principles, and we want our expertise to help others achieve their sustainability goals.
Ready to learn more about sustainable building?
Many assume that sustainable building is expensive, but the truth is, that’s not the case. Craft Homes can help you build your dream home without blowing your budget, and with consideration for the environment. To learn more, talk to us today, or keep an eye out for our upcoming eBook; “Building a Sustainable Future: 12 Tips for Building a Sustainable Home, and How Craft Homes Can Help.”
Toby and Cat Tilsley