Sustainable housing fast becoming international and local buzz word

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Sustainable housing is fast becoming a buzz word internationally and in New Zealand. All sectors of the New Zealand building industry are starting to look at how they can improve the sustainability of buildings, with significant research currently being undertaken. 

One such initiative involves a research consortium called Beacon Pathway Ltd, which is made up of a number of public and private organisations, and has been formed to fi nd affordable, attractive ways to make New Zealand homes more sustainable. 

The product of their efforts is called the Now Home. The objective of the Now Home is to create a house that is cost-competitive, warm, dry and healthy for the typical New Zealand family. The first of these homes has been completed in Waitakere, Auckland, and the second is now under way in Rotorua in conjunction with Housing New Zealand Corporation. 

The Rotorua home was due to be completed by the end of July, although this was largely dependent on an improvement in the unsettled weather. These homes are designed and situated to make the most of passive solar heating and cooling. Unlike the Waitakere house, where concrete tiles were used, the design of the Rotorua home makes use of pre-painted steel for the roofing and cladding. 

Steel has been specified on this project because it is environmentally friendly, recyclable, manufactured from locally sourced material and extremely durable when the right material is used for the environment. Dimond, among other suppliers, has shown support for this project by supplying the roofing and cladding for the home. 

In return for this sponsorship, Dimond will receive the results of an extensive two-year monitoring programme of the home’s performance and comfort. It is hoped that lessons learned from this programme will contribute to an overall improvement of housing construction throughout New Zealand.