Super green home targets top tier of rating systems

13 June 2017

A four bedroom rammed earth house under construction in Beachlands, Auckland aims to show that it is possible for green homes to achieve top marks under three different rating systems in New Zealand: Homestar, Passivhaus and Living Building Challenge.

Rochelle and Joel Payne’s “Living House” is an impressive design in an area where thousands of houses are being built. It includes a green roof, solar panels and rainwater tanks to satisfy the fire department’s regulations and provide the house’s potable water.

So how will this super green home tick all the boxes?

Homestar focuses on energy, health and comfort, water, waste, home management, materials. Rochelle and Joel’s design has already achieved a 10 Homestar Design rating, and they’re now aiming for a 10 Homestar Built rating, the highest rating available. Homestar V4 will be out in July making the process of accreditation simpler and the system easier for people to verify against. Read more about Homestar here.

Passivhaus certification shows that the house will use minimal energy for heating and cooling. The focus here is energy and comfort. This is achieved with super insulation, orientation to the sun, air tightness and very precise ventilation systems. Rochelle and Joel’s home will then be warm without the need for standard heating systems. Their careful planning and attention to detail in these areas will hopefully qualify their home for Passivehaus certification. Read more about passive houses here.

Living Building Challenge certified buildings are required to generate all their own energy, produce all their own water and collect, process and reuse or recycle all of their own waste water, amongst other things. These are very challenging targets for a building to achieve, especially in an urban environment. Traditionally only buildings in a rural setting (such as the Glenorchy Campground) have targeted full certification where these types of challenges are more easily met. Items such as composting toilets and grey water filtration systems with evapotranspiration beds will help. Rochelle and Joel’s design takes into account these requirements.

So why try for all three?

Rochelle comments, “someone had to be first to target the ‘trifecta’ and we wanted that to be us. Verifying performance is not onerous and targeting the different certification schemes, rather than bringing about conflicts between each scheme, has actually enhanced the aims of each scheme as well as the overall design of the house. I think that we have actually ended up with a better house design than if we had only targeted one scheme.”

Andrew Eagles, CEO of the NZ Green Building Council states, “we are seeing more and more people seek verification of the quality of homes, particularly on the back of an interest in having healthier warmer homes. Often people request six or seven Homestar. To aim for 10 star Homestar, Passivhaus and Living Building Challenge is impressive”.

The process of submitting for Building Consent has started. Find more about their ongoing process here.


For more information: Andrew Eagles, Chief Executive, New Zealand Green Building Council, 09 9506 704.

Notes to editors

About the New Zealand Green Building Council (NZGBC)

The NZGBC is a not-for-profit industry organisation dedicated to a sustainable built environment. The Council achieves this through setting standards of best practice through green building rating tools; education and training for all areas of the building industry value chain; and providing access to networks, information and resources for our members to lead the market. Visit: