'Living building' house a first for NZ

16:00, Mar 04 2014
Eco friendly home
ECO-FRIENDLY LIVING: Architectural designer Craig Jarvis has designed a home for himself and his family for the international Living Buildings Challenge.

New Zealand's first house designed as a "Living Building" will take shape at Taylor's Mistake in Christchurch.

Architectural designer Craig Jarvis says the house, which he has designed for his family, will be the first in New Zealand to be built for the Living Buildings Challenge, an initiative launched in Seattle, Washington, to encourage eco-friendly architecture.

A total of 150 Living Buildings have been built around the world, but only one other Living Building is being built so far in New Zealand - a commercial building, designed by Jasmax for Tuhoe, in Auckland.

Jarvis says Living Buildings have to produce their own electricity (more than they use); treat their own sewage; be chemical-free; be accessible; with as many locally sourced materials as possible. Burning wood or gas is not permitted. Owners have to build the house themselves and live in it for 12 months.

Jarvis says the house will be off the grid and ultra eco-friendly. It will include photovoltaic (PV) panels, a plant-covered roof, passive heating and cooling, rainwater storage tanks, and a secondary composting toilet. The house will also grow its own fruit and vegetables.

The design took Taylor two years of research. Although the house will measure only 88 square metres it will include three bedrooms. "It is affordable for the average person, if they can accept living in a smaller home. This is the future, no question."

Jarvis says the design could be modified to be suitable for TC3 or unstable land.


The Press