Healthier, happier homes with G.J. Gardner

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27 October 2022

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More energy-efficient building codes are on the way, and G.J. Gardner are welcoming them with open arms, as another step forward in their drive to build exceptional homes for New Zealanders.

Life is for living not for suffering through the seasons – hot and bothered in summer, battling Jack Frost in winter. And an energy-efficient house, where the comforts of heating and cooling don’t send you bankrupt, is your BFF (best friend forever) if you and your family want to enjoy an easy-going lifestyle no matter what the weather throws at you.  

Exterior cladding: The Brickery San Selmo Smoked Grey Cashmere, James Hardie Easylap Panel with Battens in Dulux Wairakei full

To ensure new homes in New Zealand are making good use of best-practice thinking, materials and technologies, every year MBIE (the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment) reviews the Building Code. In 2021, with an eye on improving the energy efficiency provisions of new builds, they made the most significant updates to the code in a decade. They called it the H1 clause.

Interior paint: Wairakei Half, features in Timbacryl Colorsteel Lichen and Amazon Vine

A code to live by

At GJ’s we greeted the H1 clause with a big high-five. We welcome these changes as a positive step forward. They’ll help to ensure New Zealand homeowners enjoy a better, more sustainably-focussed future.

Although there are still ways you could build a home that performs poorly under the new rules, that’s not something we’d advocate. A healthy home is good for the body and a salve for the mind. Throw in the fact that an energy-efficient home performs well come rain or shine and it’s a balm for the long-term budget too. That’s a win, win, win in our book.

So, we’re primed for action. We’ve already run energy-efficiency courses to ensure our teams are clued up on the H1 updates and we’re excited about the real difference it will make to the everyday in people’s lives.

New rules aside, GJ’s aim has always been high. We strive to design homes with exceptional performance. We lean into sustainable choices and embrace energy efficiency because it’s the right thing to do. Our method goes beyond simply choosing superior insulation materials and double glazing. GJ’s takes a ‘whole house’ approach where we consider many ways to make your home an energy-efficient exemplar. For instance, we design it to capture the sun and with window placement to prevent excessive heat loss.

Carpet: Belgotex Boulevard Kerb 90

How does H1 affect me?

While the first updates were due to come into effect on 3 November 2022, it seems likely this date will be pushed out to allow the industry to get up to speed. Still if you’re dreaming of a new build, you’ll want to know (right now), how H1 changes will affect your project.

Firstly, the code changes will introduce six climate zones, replacing the current three. This allows us to provide the best living environment for a home’s occupants based on its location. As builders, we can better cater for different climates. That’s logical. Does Nelson have similar weather issues to Queenstown? It does not. In the South Island particularly, which was previously only one zone, the changes are old-fashioned common sense.  

Across New Zealand, new builds will also require an increased amount of roof insulation and a minimum level for window insulation. And yes, there will be a difference in cost. This will vary according to climate zone and the type of house you build. Our teams will work alongside you on a design that meets the new codes and your budget. At the end of the day (and at the beginning) you’ll get a better-performing home. Remember the future perfect: energy efficiency ultimately pays for itself through energy savings and ensuring a healthy living environment.

To streamline the process, the codes will be checked by councils using an energy efficiency calculation and compliance ticked off before the start of construction.

There you have it. Clause H1 signifies an upgrade to the energy efficiency performance of your new build. But more. To us at GJ’s, H = healthy and, in the long-term, H = Happy too.

Why choose GJ’s:

• New Zealand´s most trusted home builder, through independent research
• Most successful building team for over 2 decades
• Over 20,000 homes built in NZ, never any uncompleted
• You get the best of both worlds – the care of a local builder with the reassurance of GJ’s
• Unsurpassed value due to our size, providing our customers with the best value homes in the market
• Agreed contract price and agreed completion times providing you with certainty
• Our promise is to build you a home we can both be proud of The final assurance you can have is this simple fact: More New Zealanders trust G.J. Gardner to build their homes than any other builder.

If you have any questions about the new code requirements for energy efficiency, talk to your local GJ’s salespersons


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