Builder nails an NZ first


A Queenstown-based builder’s campaign to construct environmentally-friendly homes has reached a new benchmark.

Rilean Construction’s energy-efficient homes division, Evolution, gained New Zealand’s first nine Homestar rating for a four-bedroom Christchurch home.

The NZ Green Building Council’s rigorous Homestar ratings – assessing health, warmth and energy efficiency – range from six to 10.

Most NZ homes would rate only three, while only four houses and an apartment block have reached a world-leading 10.

To date, the highest Homestar rating for any Queenstown home is six, though one Evolution home at Jack’s Point is targeting an eight.

The Christchurch home was built by Rilean Canterbury director Trevor Meikle, who formerly headed up several projects for the firm in Queenstown.

Its eco-features, which mean power bills are virtually zero, include a fully-insulated MaxRaft concrete sub-floor, wall and ceiling insulation offering up to 60 per cent more energy efficiency and warmth than a normal build, and solar panels with battery back-up.

There’s also a 10,000-litre rain water-collecting tank that pumps water back to toilets, the washing machine, tub and outside taps, and a native hedge, vegetable garden and fruit trees

The 222 square metre home’s build cost was about $2700 per square metre – quite a bit less than the cost of many other energy-efficient homes.

“This shows that incorporating energy-efficient and sustainable features into a family home is entering the mainstream market and is no longer a niche activity,” Meikle says.

“Evolution is dedicated to dispelling the myth that building a sustainable home is too expensive.”

Local-based Rilean marketing coordinator and Homestar assessor Annabelle Numaguchi says Queenstown’s square metre cost would be dearer.

But the Christchurch design is free for anyone wanting to build the same house with Evolution.

“This would save tens of thousands in architecture fees, and the hard planning is already done.”