Power bills will be no concern to the new owners of these ultra-energy efficient houses

The first two homes in New Zealand’s first Passive House -certified subdivision are ready for sale.

The two-storey three-bedroom homes at Bushland Park in Halswell, Christchurch, are so energy efficient, their new owners will be feeding power back to the grid when the sun shines on their recessed roof-top solar panels.

Winter power bills will still be low, with features including continuous mechanical ventilation with heat recovery, triple-glazed windows and well-above code levels of wool insulation – using wool from the sheep grazing in the neighbouring paddock.

The 144 square metre homes (with 47.6m2 of loft space) are the first in an 11-home stage, with another two houses expected to be under construction by the end of April. The next two homes will be four-bedroom.

They’ve been independently assessed to meet Passive Home Plus standard. Amanda Bielski, from building company Ethos Homes, says this means the houses are energy modelled at design stage, assessed through the planning and construction stages and tested using blower door testing to check airtightness. “It has to be under 0.6 air changes per hour. One was 0.18 and the other was 0.26 so they’re very airtight.”

Bielski says the new homeowners can expect excellent air quality, no condensation or dampness, and “a very quiet and peaceful” feel to the home. The indoor temperature will be between 20 and 25 degrees Celsius year-round.

“We hear all the time stories about mouldy, damp homes and health problems of New Zealand children with asthma and eczema,” Amanda says. “To know we’re building the best possible homes, well, we’re making a difference.” She says the development will have a community feel, with many green spaces, and trees planted and retained. “With their home, people have access to the nature reserve and wetland area. There’s a barbecue area and a playground where I’m sure everybody’s children will congregate.” Her family, with children aged 2, 4, 6 and 11, is planning to move into the subdivision at a later stage.

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