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5 Things To Help You Build An Energy-Efficient Home on a Budget

Updated: Jul 5, 2023


Wellington Builders | Design & Architecture Services | Eco-Friendly Design | High Performing Home | Structural Insulated Panels | Energy-Efficient Home

Hand holding a key on a keyring with a house

With rental prices skyrocketing and property prices constantly on the rise, it's no surprise that many Kiwis are wondering how on earth they could ever achieve the dream of owning their own home. What if we told you that not only could you get into your own home on a budget, but build your very own high-performing (energy efficient) home from scratch? Don't think it's possible? Read on to find out how Wellington builders, Green Abode, can help you turn your dream into a reality! We wholeheartedly believe that owning a healthy, warm and dry home shouldn’t be a dream; it should be the standard. It is no secret that housing in New Zealand is about 30 years behind similarly established countries in the Northern Hemisphere. The Housing Aotearoa 2020 Stats NZ report showed that constant dampness was a feature in 44,250 homes (that’s around 3%) and visible mould (i.e. larger than a sheet of A4 paper) was present in 64,536 homes (about 4.3%!) Other studies have shown that many new homes built to the NZ code of compliance are still too cold 60% of the time. We're sure you'll agree that these stats are quite shocking! So what can be done? One of the things we are doing to help drive a positive shift in the building industry is aligning with The Superhome Movement, whose number one goal is to eliminate damp houses in New Zealand. Chronic health conditions have plagued Kiwi families for far too long, so we are very proud to be a part of a movement that is striving to ensure generations to come will no longer suffer from health issues caused by damp, cold homes. If you are looking to quite literally 'get your foot in the door' (of your first home!), why not consider investing your hard-earned savings in a brand new, healthy home? Instead of spending upwards of $850k on a home that is below par, you could spend the same amount on a brand-new, healthy home. If you’re reading this and thinking, 'Is that really possible?' We're here to reassure you that it most certainly is. Here are five things to help you build the energy-efficient home of your dreams - on a budget! 1 BUILD WITH SIPS Structural Insulated Panels (SIPS) are panels made up of an insulating foam core sandwiched between two structural facings. These continuous panels contribute to airtightness by ensuring less air leakage in a building. SIPs are custom designed for each project and are cut at the factory to the exact dimensions for the flooring, wall or roof. This saves not only material waste but also on costs when it comes to installation labour. 2 SMALL FOR THE WIN Bigger is not always better; certainly not when it comes to heating a house. If you're thinking of building an energy-efficient home, chances are you're also keen on limiting the size of your carbon footprint. By coming up with a design that accommodates your family situation within a lesser footprint, you'll not only pay less on power bills, but it means you can look at purchasing a smaller, cheaper plot of land! Regardless of the materials used, building smaller lowers both building and operating costs. 3 SMART DESIGN Good design makes the best use of space and light. This means an energy-efficient house doesn't contain as many 'empty' areas such as hallways or corridors; rather, it focuses on smart designs centred around open-plan spaces, which are easier to heat, and cool and that allow good airflow. Good design considers the needs of the occupants and provides plenty of practical storage and multi-function spaces. Ideally, in New Zealand, the house would be north-facing to make the best use of the sun’s heat. 4 SPLASH + SAVE WISELY This is SUCH an important tip. If you plan very carefully which areas of your new home to 'splash the cash' and which areas to save on, you can create an energy-efficient home that doesn't cost the earth. Some areas you can save might include cladding and flooring, but we suggest prioritising the bigger bucks for the most important performance parts of your new build. We're talking high-performing windows, doors and insulation. The better your insulation, the less you will spend on heating and cooling and inefficient windows can undermine your whole energy efficiency strategy, so whatever you do, don’t skimp on joinery. If your budget starts to spin out of control, see if you can reduce the number of windows on the build rather than opting for lesser-quality joinery. This is where good design comes into play. 5 SUN POWERED If you intend to own your home for the foreseeable future, installing solar panels could be one of the best cost-saving decisions you make. “Typically, a solar power system on the house will generate a return on investment on energy bills between 10 to 12% within one year”, according to Kirsty Hoare, Director of the Board of Sustainable Energy Association of NZ. Companies such as Solar City offer free installation for a 20-year contract. This means no up-front costs, just a set monthly service fee. If you have any questions or if this blog has helped you realise that your dream is achievable even in the current market, please get in touch. We would love to help get you started! Contact Us

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