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10-Homestar homes in Auckland

Typical energy use halved.

The first of four new 10-Homestar low-carbon homes has opened in Auckland. The LOWCO homes at Waiata Shores use 7x less carbon and half the electricity and water of a standard new-build home. The Fletcher Living homes were built to gain the highest Homestar rating. Around 90% of materials were diverted from landfill during construction.

While the highly sustainable design added about 5–10% to build costs, this will be more than outweighed by considerably reduced power and water bills.

25 April 2024




Earthquake-prone building changes

Deadlines moved out.

The Government has announced plans to push out the deadlines for earthquake-prone building remediation by 4 years, with an option to extend a further 2 years beyond that. The change requires an amendment to the Building Act 2004.

The Government also announced that an already-scheduled review of the earthquake-prone building system will be brought forward to 2024. The review is to identify improvements in the way the country manages seismic risk in existing buildings.

25 April 2024




Earth building standards updates

Now open for comment.

The three New Zealand standards for earth building have been updated and the drafts are now open for comment.

The three standards are NZS 4297 Engineering design of earth buildings, NZS 4298 Materials and construction for earth buildings and NZS Earth buildings not requiring specific engineering design.

The closing date for comments is 26 May 2024.

25 April 2024




Solar PV still growing fast in NZ

Home systems top 50,000.

By the end of March 2024 there were almost 55,000 residential solar PV generation systems installed in New Zealand, a jump of over 10,000 from just a year earlier.

The total capacity of these installations, together with around 4,000 PV systems on other types of buildings, was 409 MW – up from 269 MW a year earlier and just 11 MW a decade ago, in March 2014. (To put this number in perspective, the total installed hydro capacity is over 5,000 MW.)

The Government’s GenLess website estimates that for an average 3-person household with all electric appliances and where someone is home during the day, the costs saved on electricity will pay off the purchase and installation costs of rooftop PV after around 8 years.

25 April 2024