Sustainable design

If you are in the position to be designing a new house then you are in the ideal place to make long term energy savings. Well designed homes use a small portion of the power of an average New Zealand home, and while this will invariable cost you more inital investment the long term savings will be significant. Key areas to consider are outlined below.

Broadly speaking, in a well designed passive solar building design the, windows, walls, and floors are designed and orientated to collect and store heat from the sun in winter and to block it from entering in the summer. Window placement and size is used to direct light onto a thermal mass, which acts as a heat sink in the building. This ‘locks in’ heat, lowering the need for other heat sources. Good insulation then keeps this heat from escaping the house. In summer, good design prevents this head from entering the building, keeping the building naturally cool.

Another key aspect is home size. With a national trend of every increasing home sizes, one of the biggest energy saving measures you can take is design a smaller home. Less is best!

Local sustainable home designers, builders and installers:

  • Ecoinnovation - New Plymouth. Manufacturers, designers and installers of renewable energy systems, including micro-hydro power systems.

  • eHaus Taranaki - New Plymouth. Builders of passive houses.

  • Elementary Solar & Electrical. Solar photovoltaic (PV), Wind conversion & hydro electricity systems.

  • Greenbridge - New Plymouth. Specialists in sustainable design & build for homes & landscapes, including council approved composting toilets and grey water systems.

  • JF Building Ltd - Okato. Providing sustianable buidlign services, including being NZ builders or Sirewall earth walls.

  • NZ Tiny Homes - New Plymouth. Local tiny house builder.


Following on from good passive solar design, high R value insulation in the walls, floor and ceiling, along with double glazing, will significantly reduce heat loss in a home and reduce condensation. Quality insulation keep the heat in during winter and out of the house in summer, reducing energy costs and enhancing comfortability of the home. Double glazing can half the heat loss from windows in your home. It is standard in most new houses, but it worth installing in existing homes if your existing windows require replacing. Retrofit double glazing products are available locally.

For full information, including local installers, see our insulation page.

Insulation and double glazing

Solar panels and hot water

If you are interested in solar panels, there are a host of useful online resources to explore, such as the Building Research Council of New Zealand’ s Level website solar page, the Sustainable Energy Association of New Zealand's Solar Optimiser, and My Solar Quote - a site that will generate quotes from three solar suppliers for your job.

Local solar panel system installers:

If you know of other stockists/retailers/suppliers/services or all round fantastic sustainable sources please let us know so that we can include them.