Getting it right for the future
There’s much more to future proofing of homes than insulation and double glazing, Sue Emeny reports.
Geoff and Ben Boyden are on a mission to raise awareness of the benefits of future-proof building. Geoff is managing director of Palmerston North construction company Diamond Homes and Ben, his son, is manager.
Diamond Homes has been a member of Future-proof Building (FPB) for four years, a group of innovative building companies that have a shared vision of building better homes for New Zealanders.
Building companies have to be selected to join FPB and that comes at a cost, but Ben and Geoff believe it is the way of the future.
Future-proof building means choosing features and solutions for a home that improve the owners’ quality of life now and ensure a home maintains and improves its future value.
Geoff says a lot of future proofing is common sense.
‘‘It’s just plain common sense. There are things to think about and we want to make our clients aware of those things. That’s what we are doing. We say, ‘now you’ve decided to build, you should consider these aspects’.
‘‘Some people put more thought into buying a car than they do building a house,’’ says Geoff.
‘‘Nine out of 10 people don’t understand what future proofing is and nine out of 10 people think it’s going to cost more.
‘‘People will pay more for a hybrid vehicle that runs on batteries rather than petrol, which is a go-forward saving, rather than a big item like a house. There’s the initial price of building a home, but there’s also the cost of running it. What we look at is keeping the cost of running that house down in the future.’’
Ben agrees some people don’t put enough time into planning a new home.
‘‘They come in and want to spend five minutes talking to us, then want to pick
Way of the future:
A future-proof Pahiatua home built by Geoff and Ben Boyden of Diamond Homes, Palmerston North.
up a brochure and take it away. They need to take the time to look at their lifestyle instead.’’
He says designing a new home is a balancing act.
‘‘You’ve got to look at how long the client is planning to stay in the home. If they are putting in solar power units, then they will want to stay to get the benefits of them, to reap those rewards.’’
Ben says Diamond Homes was already doing a lot of future proofing before it became part of FPB.
‘‘Often it’s just a matter of changing from one product to another. For example, using Pink Batts for insulation. In these, 80 per cent of the glass used is recycled.
‘‘There are a number of additional benefits not only to the home owner but to the wider ecology.’’
Geoff says one product might have a better warranty or a better use-by date so it doesn’t end up in the tip.
‘‘There are two aspects – the energy savings and pay back to the home owner either in comfort or savings.’’
Geoff says one simple aspect of future proofing is to wire out a house so the lighting is more energy efficient.
‘‘You can achieve that using the same amount of wiring, it’s only the thought process that’s different.’’
He says the same applies to heat pumps.
‘‘People are putting in heat pumps they have bought off the shelf, then are finding their power bills are colossal.
‘‘A heat pump is a fantastic product you can use 365 days a year, but it’s no good if it’s wrong.’’
Ben suggests getting the advice of a heat pump specialist.
‘‘You need to get a room sized to get the right-sized heat pump. It would only be a $500 price difference. If your power bill goes up hugely, it just means you’ve got the fan wound up and it’s sucking up the power.’’