Making a Kiwi House, Not so Kiwi
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From his time travelling and building throughout the world, Richard Eden, from Pro Clima NZ Ltd, learnt that kiwi homes often don’t provide health and comfort.
This became even more evident when he had his first child and brought his first home in New Zealand in 2017; a very typical 1960s single-story weatherboard with insulation in the floor and ceiling. Here’s Rich to tell us more…
“When we moved into the house my son was 3 months old, my wife, who is Swedish, and I agreed that we would ensure our baby was always in a healthy environment. So we decided we would get what we had as a standard in Sweden; a home that was always at least 18 degrees Celsius, dry and mould free. In other words, healthy living conditions.
Our first year in the house was the benchmark.
That winter we had an average power bill of $750 per month in order to maintain healthy living conditions, and that doesn’t even take into account the wood burning in a cassette fireplace recessed into a brick jail on the furthest wall from the rest of the house.
The following summer my target was to cut that bill in half because being broke to maintain health is not comfortable. So I refitted and air sealed most of the joinery then retrofitted wall insulation into the south-facing walls with r3.5 wood fibre insulation and an Intelligent Air Barrier, pro clima INTELLO® PLUS, with the aim of having the lowest VOC rating wall in NZ. Tick! I then installed a centralized fireplace, or as I like to call it “The one I now regret over-specifying”.
That coming winter we had a drop in the amount of firewood required and the power bill dropped down to $350 to maintain at least 18 degrees Celsius, dry and mould free.
This, of course, was comfortable and we saved about $2,500 that winter alone.
That following summer I installed a heat transfer system and undercut some of the doors to let the air and heat move around the whole house.
When the winter came, our power bills fell even further to $250 per month to maintain healthy living conditions.
Having done the retrofit, we’re healthy and just a little bit wealthy.”