Incorporating sustainability into your next project

With the effects of climate change hard to ignore, when approaching a new architectural project, taking a sustainable approach seems like a no brainer. But where should you start?

Whether your dream home looks like a compact tiny home, or your aspirations are a little grander,  there's a multitude of ways to incorporate sustainable and environmentally friendly practices into your project. 

The pay off for building sustainably is far-reaching. From saving on your energy bills and lower mortgage rates, to a higher return when you go to sell in the future.  Along with the  health  benefits for yourself and your family,  the advantages of building  sustainably   are   hard     to deny. 

However, the world of eco-friendly and sustainability is broad   and  extensive.  From  solar panels,   LED lights, and low flow taps, to  working with contractors and building partners who  actively  work   to reduce their  construction  waste,  incorporating   eco principles into your next project    may     feel a little overwhelming. 

Whether you plan to achieve   a Homestar rated home, want to incorporate  Passive  House techniques, or simply want advice on the orientation of your home to   optimise your energy performance, working with a professional who understands your aspirations and who has the skill and experience to achieve your eco home goals is always the first place to start.  


While most architectural professionals are well  versed   in  the fundamentals of designing an environmentally friendly home, if  you’re  looking for  a designer with specialised   experience, looking to the multitude of accreditations  that aim to exceed the building code could help narrow down your search.  Certifications such as HomeStar, The   Superhome  Movement, and Passive House, are some of the programs     in New Zealand where architectural professionals  are required to  complete training and further education to become certified. 

Professional members of Architectural Designers New Zealand  are required to   maintain  a high level  of continued professional development  (CPD)   throughout their membership.  ADNZ’s   CPD program has a strong focus on  educating our members on sustainable design, and the environmental and social responsibility the building industry   has   in creating a better built environment.  

We're  committed  to  supporting a sustainable future  for all New Zealanders  through  our   ‘Climate Change and Biodiversity  Loss Action Plan’  which  reflects our  ongoing  focus on  introducing and supporting positive initiatives and  practices   that encourage greater awareness    of sustainability   within   our  organisation, industry,  and society. 


While the  initial  investment   required  to design   sustainably  can be  a little   daunting, the accumulative savings throughout the lifetime of your home are well documented.  From  savings on your monthly energy bill, to   reducing the reliance on heating and cooling systems, designing an eco-home has a huge pay off in many ways. 

Rata Superhome by Bob Burnett and Shizuka Yasui. Photography by Kate Claridge Photography.

In a recent article published   by  Stuff ,  the spotlight was shone on the incredible Rata Street project  designed by  ADNZ  Professional Member and Co-Founder of The Super Home Movement,     Bob Burnett  (jointly designed with Shizuka Yasui). A design  centred  around  The   Superhome   Movements   ethos     and principles, Burnett’s clients enjoy  among other benefits of living in an  energy  efficient home,  $6 power bills during the   summer  months. 

Financial Support 

From sustainable energy loans,  to lower interest rates and reimbursements for customers building a 6 Homestar rated home or higher, banks are also getting onboard and supporting customers who are incorporating green building principles into their homes.  

Kiwibank | Sustainable Energy Loan 

ANZ | Healthy Home Loan 

Westpac | Warm Up Loan

ASB | Back My Build Loan 

However  your  sustainability journey looks,  check out our helpful guide  for ways you can incorporate eco principles into your next   project, and head to Find A Designer to find an     architectural professional who can help bring your eco home dreams   to life.