Iconic New Zealand building company Lockwood has launched a new range of EcoSmart homes to address increasing concerns about climate change and the impact construction has on the environment.
The first prototype in the range, the Gullwing EcoSmart show house on display in Rotorua, was officially opened by Leader of the Opposition John Key in March.
Lockwood chief executive Bryce Heard says moving into eco homes was a natural progression for the company which is already well known in New Zealand for building natural solid timber houses.
“Lockwood homes are already built using timber from fast growing plantation trees which absorb more carbon than slower growing indigenous forests,” Mr Heard says.
“Harvesting plantations for solid wood and replanting provides the best environmental outcome. Solid plantation timber is a sustainable renewable building material.
“The next stage was to assemble a team of experts who could provide the technical and scientific expertise to enable us to design a stylish, contemporary home, while bringing together all the facets of energy efficiency and reducing the home’s environmental footprint.”
The result was the Lockwood EcoSmart series which incorporates old-fashioned wisdom with modern features to control heating, ventilation and insulation.
• A high performance thermal envelope living area with natural cross ventilation. North facing captures and stores the heat and releases into the house at night while the south facing is designed to keep cold air out, known as the envelope effect.
• Roof overhangs and slatted screens prevent summer overheating but allow low altitude winter sun to penetrate deep into the building.
• The walls, under-floor and roof, are all heavily insulated, and all window and door joinery are double glazed.
• Renewable New Zealand radiata pine is used for all walls, floor and roof framing, and ceilings.
• The weatherboard is a brand new patented Lockwood quarter sawn laminated radiata pine product for stability, durability and low environmental footprint.
• Timber joinery is tasmanian oak from sustainable plantation forests with a minimal outer skin of anodised aluminium for durability and stabililty.
• A north-facing, 30° sloping, solar tower provides optimum positioning for solar water heating, which is supported by a wetback Natures Flame wood pellet-burning space heater which recycles waste from Lockwood as fuel pellets.
• Similarly, the north-facing “beak” allows for solar photovoltaic cells for electricity generation.
Low energy appliances and lighting are used throughout the Rotorua show home, while water collection is via water tanks and, where possible, paint finishes are water-based low toxicity.
“People give a lot of thought to operational energy but not to capital energy. To produce wood takes a fraction of the energy footprint compared to smelted products such as steel,” Mr Heard says.
“This first home is a prototype and we are committed to developing and refining the EcoSmart series.”