Auckland designers prepare e-house plan
by ehouse - ehouse
Architectural designers on quest to make eco-friendly housing an attractive option to new home buyers.
In an age where ‘being green’ is commonly seen by consumers as little more than clever marketing, the residential building market is struggling to engage home-buyers with green ideas. Many consumers are skeptical about the sudden popularity of ‘green buildings’, and there is often a question mark about companies’ motives for selling green. Understanding that sustainability and environmental benefts won’t resonate with everyone, how do designers and building companies efectively employ green-building principles?
“The challenge,” says Phil Shaw of ICR Consulting, an Auckland-based architectural design practice, “is to convince those non-green buyers that building an eco-friendly house is a sensible decision for economic and health reasons. There is an emerging market of younger, often frst-time home buyers that are wary of ‘green features’ being used to increase the purchase price of a home for little beneft. But building green does not always mean a more expensive home – in fact, long-term savings in regards to energy costs alone can be signifcant.”
Phil Shaw is part of a team of designers that have been working on a new concept, the ehouseTM , a planbook house design that incorporates contemporary architectural design with ‘built-in’ eco features. “A common complaint that we hear from clients is that green buildings are expensive to build and that they sacrifce good design for eco-efciency,” says Phil, “but it is possible to build an eco-friendly house in a very cost-efective manner through good design and good choice of materials. In the end, it’s about a lot of small things which add up to a drier, warmer and healthier home.”
In Phil’s mind, this is the crucial lifestyle-element: that living in an eco-house should be healthy, simple and comfortable – rather than making martyrs out of it’s occupants. It is this change in thinking, he believes, that will lead to a more environmentally-conscious building industry.
“Too often green building principles are ‘tacked-on’ to house designs to which they’re not suited. Our approach has been to start fresh, and to fgure out what people really want out of their homes. This gives us a way to ofer cost-efective green housing that suits the New Zealand climate and lifestyle.”
The ehouseTM concept was recently launched through it’s website at www.ehouse.co.nz, and has so far garnered a very positive response. With the plans soon to be ofered as options by a major Auckland housebuilding company, the future looks greener than ever for those building their own eco-home.