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Idealog—in the ideas business

eHouse takes aim at eco-housing prejudice

A team of designers are on a quest to tackle the eco-housing prejudices of potential homeowners.

Phil Shaw of ICR Consulting, an Auckland-based architectural design practice, says it can be challenging for architects to convince buyers of the legitimate reasons to buy an eco-friendly home.

Skeptical first time homeowners are wary of the trade-off between value-for-money and sustainability, he says.

“But building green does not always mean a more expensive home – in fact, long-term savings in regards to energy costs alone can be significant.”

Shaw is part of the design team working on the ehouseTM, a home design planbook incorporating contemporary architectural designs with built-in eco features.

“A common complaint that we hear from clients is that green buildings are expensive to build and that they sacrifice good design for eco-efficiency,” says Shaw, “but it is possible to build an eco-friendly house in a very cost-effective 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.”

Shaw says the ehouse will enable architects to specifically design eco-features suitable for each home.

“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 figure out what people really want out of their homes. This gives us a way to offer cost-effective green housing that suits the New Zealand climate and lifestyle.”

He says there are plans for Auckland’s major house-building companies to offer the service.


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Comments

Nice to see eco-housing becoming more mainstream.

2 things though…

- the most important aspect of an eco-house is where it's located. If the 'eco-house' is dependent on vehicular transport for every trip the residents make it is not an eco-house.

- your byline says “…team of architects…”. The term 'architect' and derivations are reserved under the Registered Architects Act 2005 for those registered with the NZRAB. ICR Consulting and principals are not architects (http://www.nzrab.org.nz/NonCMS/Find.Achitect.aspx).

What a complete plonker !!! Our house is certainly not on a main bus route, – nor even close to a village/town/city !!, but it is definitively a “ECO HOUSE” in the true sense that it is self sustainable in energy/heating/cultivation of produce and more over built from locally sourced and milled timbers and aggregates.— I might also add that the self serving protection racket of the registration board of so called “architects” is well over due as the best person we found to complete our plans and offer advice was a local (???) draughts person who was more able than three other so called “architects” we consulted , and who more over had much more acceptance from the regional authorities that we had to satisfy with our building plans and permits.


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