Protecting our environment by building with eco-friendly materials and systems has become integral in the design of modern homes. We look at some of the options and point you to further information.
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Building ‘green’ or ‘eco-friendly’ homes means taking an approach that has minimal impact on the environment. This includes:
For more information about managing sewage and waste water to lessen the impact on the environment and to save water, have a look at waste water management information on the Ministry for the Environment website which includes:
The concept of ‘eco-housing’ is being developed in some areas in New Zealand. The main principles of the scheme include:
For more information have a look at Earthsong Eco-Neighbourhood.
The Homestar rating tool provides a quick and easy assessment of your home’s sustainability. You can find it at www.homestar.org.nz.
BRANZ has produced two useful publications. The first is Easy Guide to Eco-Building – Design, Build and Live with the Environment. It has lots of ideas for building compatibly with the environment, such as positioning the house for solar energy, and saving water. It also has a comprehensive list of other material and resource links.
The second publication is The Easy Guide to Being a Climate Friendly Kiwi. This guide talks about greenhouse gases and global warming, and gives some options for reducing emissions in the home, for example by insulating hot water cylinders and choosing energy efficient appliances, and planting trees and shrubs.
You can download both publications from the BRANZ website in the ‘Books for Building Trades’ and ‘Books for Home Owners’ section or contact BRANZ for a free copy.
Several local councils provide an eco design advisor service. See www.ecodesignadvisor.org.nz.
The Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) has developed a website on how to save energy at home and work. It contains useful, easy to read information on the ways you can save energy. Visit www.energywise.govt.nz.
Belinda and her husband have a history of renovating and know a lot about what features and materials are available.
Here are some of their tips. They:
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