Get­ting it right for the fu­ture

There’s much more to fu­ture proof­ing of homes than in­su­la­tion and dou­ble glaz­ing, Sue Emeny re­ports.

Manawatu Standard - Property Weekly - - Front Page -

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

Ge­off Boy­den

Ben Boy­den

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.’’

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