What's being billed as the country's first zero energy house is steadily taking shape in Point Chevalier, Auckland, and its owners are aiming to save up to $80,000 in power costs over the next 25 years.
SolarCity has partnered with owners Joanna Woods and Shay Brazier and energy consultants and eco-companies to help build the house, which aims to achieve net-zero power bills by generating as much electricity as is consumed through a blend of energy-efficient features and an intelligent solar roof.
Brazier, who is also head of design and innovation at SolarCity, says the house could save between $50,000-$80,000 in power costs over the next 25 years.
"Our zero energy house protects us from the impact of electricity rate increases while safeguarding the environment for the next generation," Brazier says. "The country needs to start thinking about making their roofs more intelligent, and start thinking about the cost of running a house per square metre, rather than just the cost of building a house per square metre.
"An intelligent roof works for you, rather than sits dormant. It uses the free sunshine and turns it into electricity, which let's face it, is a huge monthly cost for everyone. It pays for itself by significantly reducing the cost of running a home, as it costs a fraction of the energy costs that the house would incur over its life."
This particular house has a roof that includes an Artline Solar Hot Water system manufactured in Christchurch and the Pacific's first installation of the Solarcentury C21e solar power roof tile.
The Artline system will provide 25 percent of the home's energy by heating the majority of its water, and the C21e solar slate roofing tile will provide 45 percent of power needs, Brazier says, and the rest of the home achieves zero energy through energy efficiency.
Labour leader David Shearer (the house is in his electorate) said New Zealanders should all be aiming towards having zero energy homes.
"Given our high sunshine hours and mild climate, New Zealand has the perfect opportunity to reduce our reliance on carbon fuels. The government should be reducing the barriers to solar energy for everyday New Zealanders, so we all have the opportunity to minimise our power bills and carbon footprints, as Jo and Shay are doing. These guys are showing us the way," Shearer said.
"Solar technology is becoming more affordable by the day, and in Christchurch is even being fitted as standard across 3500 new homes, which will harness solar energy to power themselves, and sell any excess energy back to the national grid. The Zero Energy House is a house of the future, and a wake-up call."
Pure Advantage trustee Stephen Tindall says: "The key to making cases like Shay's the norm will be the government and business working together, to put real innovation to work for us."