Improving our existing homes
Our research is focusing on ways to improve not just new homes, but the nation’s 1.6 million existing houses, many of which are cold, draughty, energy-wasting, resource-hungry, and costly to run and maintain. We’re asking “How can we make any house, whether built ten, twenty or fifty years ago, more energy and water efficient, produce less waste, be healthier to live in and more affordable for its occupants?”
Build Back Smarter in Christchurch
The extensive repair and rebuilding required in Christchurch presents an opportunity to include upgrades which will improve the performance of the region’s housing stock - we call this building back smarter.
The Build Back Smarter project aims to show that home performance improvements can and should be included in the ‘standard’ repair of earthquake-damaged Christchurch homes. Ten homes will be upgraded alongside insurance repairs, and the process and results evaluated.
The HomeSmart Renovation project
The HomeSmart Renovation project aimed to demonstrate the benefits of sustainable renovation on a large scale. 650 homeowners received an individually tailored renovation plan (based on our research so far) which showed participants how to get the best return on their investment, by drawing up a detailed pathway to improve the sustainability of their home. We then tracked what changes homeowners made to their homes, and collected data on how well their homes performed before and after renovation. The project has given us a snapshot of the actual condition and performance of homes across New Zealand.
The Papakowhai Renovation Project
Nine ‘ordinary’ New Zealand homes in Papakowhai were renovated with different packages of energy, water, waste and indoor environment quality improvements. Some houses were renovated to a high standard of sustainability, while other houses had more modest interventions to compare the performance and cost-effectiveness of different packages. The homes were monitored before and after renovation for a clear comparison on their performance.