The benefits of living in the Waitakere NOW Home®

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While it is relatively easy to measure how much energy or water is used, and what the temperature is, we were also interested in how the family found living in the Waitakere NOW Home®.

Our researchers interviewed Joe and Hayley regularly to get their feedback on how the house was performing.  It has helped us identify problems not showing up in the monitoring data, and to address these.

Best of all, the family’s experience demonstrates the greater health, social and family benefits of living in a sustainable home.

“We are happy here, which flows through to everything else.  Everything has been better since being here”.

A quieter home

An added advantage of the double glazing was the peace and quiet.  Even though their house was near a busy road, the noise did not bother the family.  In fact the quiet was so noticeable, the family reported being surprised to find it was raining one day during a storm.

Health benefits

Joe and Hayley quickly noticed their family had fewer illnesses since being in the Waitakere NOW Home®.

“We haven’t had to be home with the kids sick since we’ve been here” reported Hayley after their first three months in the house.

One of the children suffered from asthma prior to moving into the house, and that showed improvement too, with less need for a nebuliser. 

Hayley also praised the double glazing for blocking light and sound when she was recovering from migraines.


Good for the family

Tenants entering Waitakere NOW HomeThe family enjoyed more socialising in this house.  They describe their former house as being cold, dark, damp and a place they didn’t like to invite friends and families to.  In contrast, their social life in the Waitakere NOW Home® has bloomed, they have more friends around and more people in their life.

“People want to come round,” say Joe and Hayley. They attribute this to living in a quality house, which is comfortable, aesthetically pleasing, spacious, has indoor-outdoor flow, and is easy to clean.

The experience of our NOW Home® tenants indicates that warm dry homes are not only vital for health, they are important for mental health. 

“You can’t help but be positive, we don’t get the winter blues” said Joe.

Joe and Hayley describe the change as ‘huge’ in terms of a healthy state of mind and generally feeling happier, “We’ve realised the impact a house could have on the rest of life”.

Best of all for the family was the increased confidence and happiness they noticed since moving into the NOW Home®.   Their boys are healthier and more confident.  They felt connected as a family, especially working together to gardening and composting.

Their view: a good house positively contributes to strong family relationships.  

 Photo: Craig Robertson Photography


Changing their lives

The experience of living in the Waitakere NOW Home® has had a lasting impact on the family’s behaviour and awareness.  Very early on they noticed that they were using their dehumidifier, heaters and drier less often, and they had started watching their energy use.  A centameter installed in the second year gave them a real-time picture of the impact of various appliances on power consumption.

The family became more conscious of their waste, and learned not to overbuy or waste food.  They became aware of environmental and sustainability issues through living in the house.  Composting and recycling  is now second nature.

The family report they now “look at things differently” and are more aware of what they’re leaving behind.  For example, they now understood the WA$TED programme on television; they could compare themselves to people on this programme and “get it”. 

Hayley commented that “I am not conscious anymore, it’s just how I am – I just do [more environmentally friendly] things, I don’t think about them”.

Their next home

The family have now moved on to their own home.  Their NOW Home® experience made a big difference to what they looked for when house hunting.

Their new home had to be a sun trap with good natural light indoors, especially in the children’s bedrooms.  It had to face north for maximum sun.  They looked for a home which was insulated and double glazed but also well ventilated.  They had their new house checked for humidity and damp to ensure there were no hidden moisture problem.

Also important was the flow and layout of the house.  It needed to be big enough for their growing family but with no wasted space – good design was a key criteria.

With insulation and double glazing already installed the family have little need to renovate their new home.  However they did report that their first ‘renovation’ was to replace all the lightbulbs in the house with energy efficient compact fluorescent lightbulbs!


Waitakere NOW Home

Waitakere NOW Home®