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eHaus News // Winter 2021

In  by Katelyn BrownJul 08, 2021

A lot of activity in the construction industry – unprecedented times with New Zealand in a building boom. We are excited to be part of the action, with a record number of eHaus designs and constructions under way across the country. So many conversations around sustainability, carbon emissions and demand and, not being ones to shy away from the hot topics, we have loads to share about our contribution and being part of positive change in these areas.


01. eHaus and carbon
02. What we live by
03. Spotlight on eHaus Taupo
04. No heaters required
05. Our designHaus – First Light Studio

The topic of Carbon emissions is such a big one. The world still appears to be grappling and is yet to agree why this is an issue, let alone be offering solutions, but the most pressing thing here is speed – just how quickly can we adapt and change our behaviour? The team at eHaus have been doing the maths to find out how we can help. Just how positive is the impact of a high performing energy efficient house on Carbon savings?

Passive House principles are built upon science. With over 30+ years’ of research, it continues to prove over and over, that applying this science to the design and construction of our spaces really does make a difference, not only to carbon emissions but also to our health. With such an achievable alternative to building, it still puzzles us why kiwis still bother to build anything less, yet our building code standard continues and thousands of homes are built this way every year.

For the past 12 years, eHaus have been building spaces using the Passive House principles, a proven measured performance you can live by.

We wanted to show the impact energy savings make in every eHaus to reduce carbon emissions through energy savings.

Introducing our Carbon Piggy

A real-time energy carbon savings sum which increases every day as they are recalculated. Shown against each of the projects on our website, we also show the accumulated energy carbon savings for every eHaus we have built (as not all our builds show on the website)

We knew that the savings would be good, but had no idea just how good.

We show the savings in kilograms of carbon for each of the builds, but for the accumulated total that figure has got too long, so is showing in tonnes - yes, tonnes. Already we are over one thousand!

This is just for energy carbon savings, compared to a standard home, but it demonstrates the incredible immediate impact a change in design and construction makes. New Zealand has some big mountains to climb to reach the carbon emissions targets set, imagine the contribution if all new builds were energy efficient?

Discover more about each build and how we calculate this

We love our ‘we live like” statement – it grounds us in what’s important and keeps our feet to the fire working to ‘live like’ this everyday in our business.

A huge focus here at eHaus is around Sustainability. This word means different things to different people, but for us, it's anchored in our 5 Eco Values. These help us to find the right suppliers and partner with them to offer products that provide environmental, social and economic benefits over their whole life cycle. There are so many things to consider when you build, but keeping sustainable thinking at the forefront is what will truly make the difference .

We have partnered with some of the best producers in New Zealand doing great things in this space.

We salute our friends at Bremworth, for returning to pure wool carpet production only and saying goodbye to plastic fibres – a courageous business decision, but one with incredible conviction, thinking beyond today for tomorrow. Did you know that the average Kiwi home with synthetic carpet is similar to having 22,000 plastic bags on the floor? Bremworth get a big tick from us, and their product is something to seriously consider when selecting your carpet.

Taps, another key element to consider when building. The WELS star rating is a great tool that helps you to see at a glance how much water your tap will use. The more stars, the better the efficiency.

What about paint? Our very own Resene, NZ owned and operated since 1946, produce paints with Low VOC (nasty fumes). Another big tick from us! Well done Resene for wanting to be respected as a company that has ethical and sustainable practises.

We also love the partnership we have with Neocrete – another New Zealand owned and operated company who are doing BIG things with concrete (one of the largest contributors to CO2 emissions). NeoCrete D5 green reduces cement by as much as 30%. This has the potential to significantly reduce the carbon content of the concrete industry (8% of worldwide emission). Plus, D5 green makes concrete more durable!

Taking on the eHaus Taupo licence, Mat has hit the ground running and is already into his second eHaus, with another in the design phase at Kinloch. Mat is a Taupo local, married to Caroline and they have two great school-aged kids. He knows the region inside out.

“Taupo has some big extremes in climate – icy cold in winter followed by long, hot summers. Living in a home that can handle that really makes sense to me and my clients. Building a PassivHaus with eHaus means clients gets an incredible house that saves them up to 90 per cent in heating costs, with an even temperature all year round.” Mat said

Passionate about quality homes, Mat has a reputation for his attention to detail and quality, which, combined with his fantastic down-to-earth, approachable style, is a winning mix with clients.

The current building code is too low, Mat believes. “People deserve more and a healthy, high-performing home for their family should be standard.”

We asked Heather, his current client, to give us some feedback and this is what she had to say:
'Mat is an experienced and thoughtful builder who has an outstanding level of communication and service. He's committed to both his clients and building warm, dry and energy-efficient homes. The eHaus approach is not one-size-fits all - it's very much about the climate of the area you're living in. The eHaus directors are fantastic too, and always ready to answer questions - you can tell it's not just a business for them, it's a passion too.'

Check out Mat's profile on the eHaus Taupo page

The recent story about Randal and Pam Greenbank in Te Kauwhata was fantastic, about telling their story to go off the grid, rather than pay the $110,000 for a power cable up their 850m long driveway.

This led them to look for an energy efficient option. After talking with friends who had built an eHaus with Warren and the team in Manawatu, they were so impressed that they signed up with Ross and Julie Brown eHaus Waikato licensees.

Yet to face their first winter, and the inland Waikato frosts, Ross said:
“It will be just lovely and warm all winter – they will hardly need to turn on the heater. We did have a frost one morning recently; there was white frost everywhere. I went up to see them later, and they said they didn’t even think to turn on the heater."

Read the full story

Our designHaus continues to grow with Architectural practises and designers’ part of our team.

Ben and the team from First Light in Wellington, are doing incredible work designing beautifully energy efficient homes, all energy modelled using the Passive House Planning Package. Knowing how your biggest investment is going to perform is so important. We can do that while it's still on the plans.

In 2011, First Light Studio’s directors took the eco design world by storm, beating international talent from Europe and the Americas to a podium finish at the US Department of Energy’s prestigious Solar Decathlon competition.

The team’s passion for clever thinking and sustainable design remains as strong as ever, and the Wellington-based practice has continued to produce award-winning architecture ever since.

Dedicated to reducing energy and resource use in the construction sector, First Light Studio believes that every kiwi should have access to a warm, comfortable, and healthy home, and firmly believes in a better built future for all of New Zealand.

From our team to yours we want to say thanks for your support to us. We often say 'Without you eHaus is just an idea', we truly can't do what we do without you!

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