Clark Residence - Manawatu's highest Homestar rating

27 February 2021

Project Summary

Rating: 8 Homestar built rating

Location: Palmerston North, Manawatū

Owner: Roger Clark

Completion: 2019

Size: 150 sq/m

The award-winning Clark Residence in Palmerston North can now add another feather to its cap, Manawatū's first 8 Homestar rating.

"It's absolutely great. It just feels so healthy, it's easy to look after, it never gets too hot, it never gets too cold. I just love it."

Set among native trees he has planted over the more than 30 years he's owned the site, Roger Clark's goal of building a future-proof, sustainable home has been achieved with an impressive Homestar 8 certified project.

"Over the years I've planted a lot of native trees and although we had to do away with some of them, with Monika's help we were able to plan a home that fitted in with the old existing trees, kauri, rimu, kahikatea, rewarewa, titoki and build a home that was environmentally friendly, is great to live in and healthy."

Photo by Andy Spain

Project Team

Architect: Monika Puri, 242am Architects

Builder: Phil Wolland, Wolcan Construction

Thermal Modelling: Sam Roose, Enercon

Principal Architect at 242am Architects, Monika Puri, was brought on board after Roger decided to downsize from his existing place – subdividing his more than 1000 square metre section to a lush 450 square metre plot.

"When we talked about the plans initially, the sustainable elements were what we wanted, then Monika said well what you're wanting to do is part of Homestar. It was the idea that I wanted and she said well this is the criteria which fitted with that.

"Homestar was a good benchmark as a guide to do it right. It gives it some credibility that it's been done properly."

For Monika Puri, Roger's design and build were her first experience of the rating tool.

"We wanted an energy efficient home and so I said OK if we want to do something like this we should at least have some parameters to work to instead of just doing something randomly. That's how we got on to Homestar. Then we just worked through and said we'll just see how many stars we get."

The result is an energy efficient, smart home built from sustainable materials. Roger has control over much of his home thanks to a smart KNX Automation system. An innovation point was awarded for the integration of real-time monitoring of key home metrics like solar generation, water use, energy use, and temperature.

Photo by Andy Spain

Brick was used as a low maintenance exterior, with green certified materials used throughout, along with permeable pavers to control rainwater runoff.

"We were more conscious of specifying products, rather than just going through gut feeling. Homestar was a good guide," Monika said.

She said working with Roger it was clear he truly believed in what they were doing, taking the lead on consciously choosing more environmentally friendly materials, paints and carpets, energy efficient appliances and plumbing fixtures.

A keen baker, Roger's commercial oven setup in his garage is now powered by a solar array on the roof.

"Every every week or so I make a batch of sourdough bread and give it away. People seem to like it so I keep doing it," Roger said.

"If I do it on the right day I can use some of that solar power, rather than getting eight cents per kilowatt from going to the grid I can recycle the sun's power."

Photo by Andy Spain

Cost means the house doesn't have a battery storage system for the solar power he generates, however the house is wired to facilitate one in the future.

"I'm very grateful to have Homestar available and to have a benchmark. I think the local Councils and valuation people should make it available to put on the valuation and property information. It gives it credibility when you go to sell, not that I plan on selling my property, but if you do it gives credibility that things have been done properly."

Reflecting on her first experience with the tool, Monika says it was a journey.

"I think it has to be a collaborative process. The client and the architect both have to be on the same page and you have to be honest about it….It has to be a genuine commitment and has to be client driven. "

She'd encourage others to consider the process as a holistic one.

"Look at it as a guiding tool rather than a prescriptive thing, then you'll really enjoy it… The ultimate goal is, yes to get the stars, but the main goal is we want our buildings to be environmentally sustainable."

Sustainable features

  • High thermal comfort tested by thermal modelling
  • Mechanical ventilation heat recovery system
  • Materials – FSC certified timber framing, eco-labelled carpets, paints, and coatings, permeable pavers,eco insulation, energy efficient applianes & plumbing fixtures
  • Native planting
  • Storm water collection system
  • In-ground worm farm composting
  • Argon gas filled double glazed windows in double hybrid timber frames
  • Efficient hot water heat pump
  • LED lighting including automation system
  • 6 solar panel array with wiring for future battery storage
  • Real time performance monitoring of temperature, humidity, energy, solar generation, CO2 levels inside the house via a CO2 sensor.