IDEAL House – New Zealand

Project Goals: Certified Passive House, Positive Energy & 8/10 Homestar design. Proudly supported by IDEAL Electrical Suppliers.

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Passive House Open Day

In celebration of International Passive House Day, Andy Ong of the Passive House Institute of New Zealand (PHINZ) organized a site tour of the IDEAL house. We had a good turnout, and interesting presentations by Matt Wilson, our architect from S3 Architects and by Andy, regarding Passive Houses. We had lots of interesting questions and discussions around energy efficient construction and design. Fortunately, our midfloor had been laid earlier in the week so everyone who wanted was able to climb up to see the layout and the views from the top floor.


Presentation by Matt Wilson, S3 Architects

Presentation by Andy Ong, PHINZ


Presentation by Matt Wilson, S3 Architects


Lots of people interested in Passive Houses!


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8 Homestar Design Rating

We have a shiny new badge for our blog – an 8 star for our newly awarded 8 Homestar Design rating!

hip hip hooray!

Thanks to the hard work of Matt Wilson at S3architects, who has been handling all aspects of the design and submission, we’ve been recently confirmed to have received an 8 star rating for the design of our house. There are only a handful of comparable homes in the country, so we’re feeling really proud! 

How did we achieve this? Well, here are some aspects of the build that helped us get to this point. In brief:

  • Very high levels of insulation, particularly in the ceiling
  • Well-insulated slab (in our case, above the slab)
  • Low e, argon-filled, triple-glazed PVC windows
  • Double timber skinned walls, again with high insulation values
  • Heat-exchange ventilation system
  • A comprehensive waste-management and waste-minimisation plan
  • Innovative build concepts: Passive House, open-source building and Positive Energy (through PV panels)
  • Water conservation: rainwater harvesting, low-flow taps, showers and toilets, water-conservative appliances and heat-pump hot water cylinder

Now that we’ve patted ourselves on the back, where were our weaknesses?

  • Size of the house in relation to number of bedrooms. We nipped and tucked, trimmed and tweaked until we just couldn’t compromise any further. In our defence, the rectangle-like construction of the building (to minimise thermal breaks for Passive House compliance) made it a bit more difficult to trim size from just one room; rather, a trim of one room affected pretty much the whole of the house.
  • No greywater system. These systems are nigh-on impossible to get through Auckland Council and, quite honestly, we had to draw the line somewhere.

All in all, we were appreciative of the holistic approach of the Homestar rating system. It helped us carefully consider each aspect of the build and guided us towards making sustainable and energy-efficient choices to create a high-performing home. If you’re interested in learning more about Homestar, there is plenty of helpful information on their website, including a tool which allows you to obtain a rating on your existing home.