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How Harrisons is Helping Innovative Kiwi Builder with His Pioneering 9-Star Eco-Home Renovation

When Auckland builder Zane Raphael wanted to pioneer a new standard in eco-renovations for Kiwi homes, Harrisons was delighted to jump on board.

Zane’s plan to convert a 50-year-old house from a two-star Homestar rating to a 9-star family eco-home for him, his wife and two daughters is breaking new ground for New Zealand redevelopments.

Every decision he makes from the drawing board to final sign-off contributes to an overall points system – designed by Homestar and the New Zealand Green Building Council – which relates to how eco-friendly his home is as well as how well it performs and how comfortable it is to live in.

We believe that Zane’s quest to create one of the county’s ultimate eco-homes out of a building first constructed in 1967 ties in directly with Harrisons’ commitment to help provide high-performance and comfortable Kiwi homes using the latest solar technology and the best in interior furnishings… even if you’re not starting from scratch.

Zane says he hadn’t heard about Homestar until his architectural designer (Buildology) – who had recently become a Homestar assessor – told him about it, but that once he started to investigate the long-term savings and environmental impact it became “infectious”. Zane has since gone on to become a Homestar practitioner.

“Now we’re in it boots and all and we’re really trying to push the envelope to get that -star rating,” he says. “Right now we’re at a design rating of 9 and believe we have the elements to get us to a 10.”

Blog-Featured-SIDE-Image-Zane-Family.jpgHarrisons has already supplied carpets for the first stage of the build and will provide more carpeting for the two extra bedrooms currently under way – Zane’s even looking into carpeting his garage with our products.

Zane and his family Zane and his family “Homestar does want to know that the carpets meet its requirements and the carpet ratings with Harrisons are a five or a six – so right up there and they definitely contributed towards getting points,” Zane says. “Everything you do either gains you points or loses you points so Homestar wants to know that you’re not using glues which contain formaldehyde with your carpeting and things like that which would have a long term leaching effect and affect your health, so our carpets were a big part as well.”

But the main Harrisons injection into Zane’s eco-renovation has been his choice to install LG 285W solar panels and state of the art SolarEdge optimisers and inverters – a package which sets him up to earn his Homestar Energy Health and Comfort credit for renewable energy, make immediate savings on his energy bills and future-proof his home with technology that will dovetail with other components (such as batteries) as solar research and development continues to come up with innovative products.

“As we got going with the Homestar ratings it was a given that we’d go down the path of solar and Harrisons was one of the key runners in that field,” Zane says. “I have a flaw in my character where I like the best of things and so I understand that that can be expensive, but when I sat down with [Harrisons Energy Solutions Managing Director] Phil Harrison I was impressed both with him as a person and with the technology the company is into. I was pretty comfortable they would offer the best solution for what we’re looking for.”

The photovoltaic panels are due to be installed at the start of August, and Zane is already talking with Harrisons about stepping up to the next level with solar and installing batteries to be able to store energy during the day and help even out supply during high-use periods in the evening and early morning.

Zane’s home aims to maximise its use of solar energy by combining smart design (a glazed north and west-facing entertaining area gains heat passively); the latest hardware (photovoltaic solar panels for electricity and solar panel water heating); and installing the next generation in battery storage.

Zane hopes to become a test-home for Harrisons next range of batteries and could have them in place by October.

“I’m not a greenie by nature but it becomes more of a challenge to me to see how we can live more efficiently – and if it means saving a few dollars here and there, then that’s a bonus,” he says.

“The solar is a huge component of the Homestar rating and one of the things that anchored us to solar was that Phil was talking about batteries. We’re really forging the way in New Zealand because we’re the first renovation ever to have got to this height and with that comes some notoriety – so it’s great to have companies like Harrisons coming on board with us.”

Because Zane and his family have already moved into his Homestar eco-home – despite work still going on around them – he says he can already tell how his choices to build using high-performance, environmentally friendly products are already making a difference.

“It is actually our own home so I thought ultimately we’re going to be living in the house so we’re going to be the best advocates for these products that we’re using,” he says

“After we first moved in in March 2015, I’ve got to say that the rest of the year was the worst on record as a family for colds and illnesses. My daughters were both constantly sick with croup and coughs and colds, but now – even living in just the lounge at the moment – we can tell there’s a distinct difference between the part of the house that’s completed and closed in and the part that’s yet to be insulated. It’s literally night and day: you’re walking from a part of the house which is heated to one that’s like a fridge – so just even with the small features we have at the moment it’s amazing how that part of the house is retaining its temperatures.”

For more information about the LG Solar products that Zane is using or to see how Harrisons can help you if you’re thinking about renovating your home, contact Harrisons Energy on 0800 003354 or via the website.