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What is a High-Performance Home?


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


Exterior view of modern house

As New Zealanders become more aware of eco-friendly homes, the demand for better-built homes that are warmer, healthier, and more energy-efficient is rising. With this comes the increasing popularity of high-performance homes. But what exactly is a high-performance home? In this blog post, we'll delve into what defines a high-performance home, why they are important, and what features you need to keep in mind if you're considering building one. So, if you want to learn more about high-performance homes, keep reading!


What is A High-Performance Home?

A high-performance home is designed and constructed with the latest technology and building materials to provide a comfortable living environment while minimizing energy consumption. While they do not necessarily have Passive House certification, they are built with the same guiding principles.

They use advanced insulation, ventilation, and heating and cooling systems to reduce the amount of energy required to maintain a comfortable temperature. High-performance homes also use efficient lighting and appliances, low-flow fixtures, and other energy-saving features.


Why are High Performing Homes Important?

High-performing homes are important because they help save on energy costs and promote healthy living. Compared to traditional homes, high-performing homes are energy-efficient and can save up to 30% on energy costs, according to the US Department of Energy. This means that you'll save money on your energy bills.

It is common knowledge that in New Zealand many homes are riddled with dampness and mould (due to gaps around the windows and doors letting in excess ventilation) which can cause serious health problems such as asthma and other respiratory-related illnesses (even cardiovascular diseases!). Although the government is making changes to address this issue, high-performing homes are the solution to this problem. By building a high-performance home, you can ensure that your family lives in a healthy and comfortable environment, free from the harmful effects of dampness and mould.

There are five features common to all high-performance homes that you need to keep in mind if planning to build your own:

# High-Performance Homes are Energy Efficient

High-performance homes are designed to minimize heat loss by using continuous insulation to ensure no, or minimal, thermal bridges can form, and energy-efficient doors and windows. The air-tight building envelope provides a comfortable living environment and significantly reduces heating and cooling costs. According to Green Building Advisor, most high-performance homes use 50% - 100% less energy than a standard new home!

Some of our Green Abode clients have reported that standard heaters provide sufficient heating during winter. One of our clients reported the outside temperature being 2°C in the middle of winter at 8.00 am, but the temperature inside was 18.8°C without any form of heating!

High-performance homes also maintain a consistent temperature throughout summer, reducing the need for heat pumps.


# High-Performance Homes are Designed for Comfort

These homes are designed to maintain a comfortable temperature throughout the year with minimal need for energy for heating and cooling. They also feature ample natural light and are equipped with technology to enhance the residents' comfort.

# High-Performance Homes are Healthy

Every high-performance home requires a mechanical ventilation system to regulate the airflow and allow the house to breathe. It brings fresh outdoor air into the house while filtering out dust and pollen and expels stale indoor air, improving indoor air quality. A well-designed ventilation system ensures high-quality air and reduces the chance of mould and dampness, resulting in fewer respiratory-prone diseases, and reducing medical and doctor bills. A Green Abode client mentioned that since living in a high-performance home, they noticed an obvious reduction in dust due to the filtered air!

# High-Performance Homes Leave Low Impact on the Planet

High-performance homes are constructed with sustainable, natural materials that do not deteriorate over time and require minimal maintenance. They are designed to use renewable energy sources such as rain and sun, which help to reduce operating costs and limit carbon emissions. Additionally, the durability of these homes means that they will last for many generations.

# High-Performance Homes Have a Greater Resale Value

With an increasing focus on sustainability and energy efficiency in New Zealand, high-performance homes are gaining more value in the resale market. Though they may have a higher construction cost than standard timber-frame homes (about 10% more), they are in greater demand nowadays. According to the Institute for Market Transformation in the US, homes with "green features" sell for around 3.46% more than those without (unfortunately these homes haven’t been around long enough in New Zealand to obtain similar stats here).

It's important to note that ANZ Bank also offers a “healthy homes discount” to anyone building a new home according to sustainable standards – warmer, dryer, healthier homes.


In conclusion, a high-performance home is a smart choice for homeowners, builders, and environmentalists. These homes are energy-efficient, comfortable, healthy, and sustainable. If you plan to build a new home, why not a high-performance home to enjoy all these benefits? To learn more about high-performance homes, check out our blog pages:


If you want to learn more about high-performance homes or start building your own, contact Green Abode today. We’d be happy to answer any questions and help you design and build the perfect high-performance home for your needs!


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