Understanding how you can design to save is where we start

Within the fundamental design stage there are a number of key elements that will increase your energy savings right from the get go…

Designing for energy saving does not have to curb your style or limit your architect. We work with you and your ideas to build in elements that will enhance efficiency. At Ethos homes we provide you with variable solutions to achieving an energy efficient home. Our continuum begins with our standard Ethos build (well beyond NZS build requirements), advances through to an internationally recognised passive certified home, or take it a step further become self sufficient and ‘off the national grid.’ It’s up to you the level of energy efficiency you want to achieve.

The plan and design phase of your building journey is critical in ensuring the necessary design elements are incorporated into your home to achieve optimum performance.

Key building elements to save

Within the fundamental areas of your home; flooring, walls, heating and ventilation and windows there are different options you can choose depending on the level of energy efficiency you want to achieve.

We understand the tension between “optimum” and “realistic” and how your project budget needs to be balanced with the resources available at your stage of life. We have detailed the key areas where building the Ethos way will significantly improve your efficiency.


While we often concentrate on heat rising and escaping through the roof, flooring is a vital factor in insulating your home

Have a look at the diagram below detailing options for flooring elements. Your planning and detail around the flooring elements can play a big part in your efforts to be energy efficient.

NZ Standard

  • 100mm Concrete floor slab
  • R1.3 Insulation

Ethos Standard

  • 100mm Concrete floor slab
  • R2.85 Insulation
  • R5.0 Edge insulation to foundation

Enhance and Improve

  • Increase thickness of slab
  • Use artificial protein concrete

Wall design and detail

The design and detail of your walls is another key area where you can make immediate energy savings with no compromise to your overall look and design

The diagram below gives you a simple snap shot of Ethos standard level and what we do to begin to make energy savings.


NZ Standard

  • 90mm graded timber or steel framing
  • Wall insulation minimum R2.6
  • Breathable building wrap to exterior framing
  • 20-40mm external wall Cavity system
  • Exterior wall cladding material

Ethos base standard

  • 140mm “laminated” timber walls
  • Wall insulation minimum R3.1 plus 45mm internal service cavity
  • Breathable building wrap to exterior framing plus internal “airtight” membrane for moisture control and to prevent heat loss
  • 20-40 external wall cavity system
  • Exterior wall cladding material plus 12mm exterior plywood to provide superior bracing

Enhance and Improve

  • 190mm “laminated” timber walls
  • Wall insulation minimum R4 plus 45mm internal service cavity

Heating and Ventilation

Generating heat to keep your home warm can come at a significant cost.

Many homes in New Zealand struggle with getting rid of moisture and dampness. An Ethos home is designed with a mechanical ventilation and heat exchange system to ensure the air in your home is always warm and dry. Minimal energy is required to maintain your homes warmth, while fresh filtered air is circulated.

NZ Standard

  • Conventional electrical, liquid or solid fuel heating/cooling systems for basic performance

Ethos Standard

  • The increased thermal efficiency of the home requires only minimal heating and cooling
  • A mechanical ventilation system with advanced heat exchange capabilities

Enhance and Improve

  • Passive house certified ventilation system

Window Design

Double glazing has long been acknowledged to reduce heat loss, and is now mandatory on new builds… however there are now even better options available

Have a look at the options here and call to discuss more about the benefits of upgrading from double glazed windows in your home

NZ Standard

  • High conductivity ‘aluminium’ window joinery prone to condensation and heat transfer
  • Window joinery installed outside the thermal envelope of the building
  • Double glazed joinery to meet minimum standard

Ethos Standard

  • Low conductivity window joinery for improved thermal resistance
  • Window joinery installed ‘mid-wall’ within the thermal envelope of the building
  • Double glazed joinery

Enhance and Improve

  • Low e coating and argon filled double or triple glazing

They did everything in a very timely fashion and were able to stick closely to the schedule they gave us. We were really pleased with the job they did.Robert Reed