Imagine a completely blank canvas that you get to paint with your wildest dreams and whims… that’s what starting a new build home feels like. From choosing the perfect layout to handpicking every material. But it’s not just about aesthetics; it’s an opportunity to align your personal values with your living space. Whether you’re passionate about sustainability, energy efficiency, or health and wellness, you can incorporate those priorities into every aspect of your new home’s design.
Our guide to healthy and sustainable homes covers everything from heating, ventilation, and insulation to paint choices, lighting, layout, and more. It’s the perfect starting point for those interested in exploring the world of Eco-architecture and beyond. At Orange Homes, we’re here to meet you where you are and assist you every step of the way in incorporating these values into your build process.
Photo by Davide Cantelli on Unsplash
If you’re looking to create a healthy living space for yourself and your loved ones, we highly recommend opting for natural paint options. Not only will this benefit your family when it comes time to move in, but it will also safeguard the health of the painters and tradespeople involved in the process. This is especially important as they are directly exposed to harmful chemicals during the most dangerous stages of application. By choosing natural paints, you can ensure that everyone involved in your home-building project remains safe and healthy.
Natural paint means an absence of toxic chemicals in the air, and naturally healthier long-term indoor air quality. By researching the ingredients on the back of the tin (and looking into the myriad of ingredients not listed on the tin), the choice to reach for a natural paint alternative is an easy decision.
Our partnership with Dulux means we can offer our Orange Homes clients access to their incredible Dulux envirO₂™ eco friendly paint. This range boasts not only the prestigious Global GreenTag™ certification (and is the only major paint brand to do so), but also has received the Environmental Choice New Zealand tick. The range has all the premium qualities you know and love about Dulux paints, with added environmentally friendly features.
“Product certifications are facilitated and officiated by third parties such as Global GreenTag™. Products are assessed against stringent standards, which consider things such as raw materials, product ingredients, manufacturing processes and waste.” – Dulux NZ.
The Dulux envirO₂® range
Healthy Homes Heating
According to Tenancy Services NZ, the Word Health Organisation recommend an internal minimum temperature of 18 Celsius. By maintaining minimum recommended temperatures during the coldest days and months of the year, and regulating temperatures in accordance with the outdoor temperatures, your home can be at its warmest and driest to ensure the health of not only your whānau, but also the health of the home.
Heat pumps are widely considered to be the most environmentally friendly method of heating your home, but there are varying opinions on how best to use them. Some suggest leaving them on at a constant temperature throughout the day and night, while others recommend using them only at high or low settings when you’re at home. At the end of the day, what works best for your family will depend on your unique needs and preferences. That’s why we recommend conducting thorough research and experimenting with different usage styles to determine what is most effective for you. By comparing power usage and bills on a month-to-month or week-to-week basis, you can find the optimal heating strategy that meets both your environmental and financial goals.
Powering your homes heating via solar panel is a cost effective and extremely sustainable initiative to contribute to the overall Eco-friendly nature of your build. Solar panels are typically cheaper to install during the build process than they are later in the life of the property. This is typical for any product requiring the upheaval of ground or internal walls for wiring.
Passive heating & cooling
Passive heating and cooling is an increasingly popular and Eco-friendly option for creating a healthy home. This method harnesses the power of the sun to trap, store, distribute, and retain heat. To ensure its effectiveness, it requires careful planning around your home’s sun exposure and insulation needs. While this approach leads to lower energy consumption and reduced power bills, it must be considered during the design and build stage of your home’s lifecycle. If you’re interested in exploring passive heating and cooling as a sustainable home-building option, be sure to speak with your Orange Homes design team.
Photo by Thomas Werneken on Unsplash
Home Insulation and Ventilation
A home’s ventilation system plays a critical role in promoting a healthy living environment by filtering, cleaning, and drying the air. It can also effectively distribute warm air to colder areas of the house and vice versa. While HRV is a leading provider of ventilation systems in New Zealand, there are now several stylish internal ventilation systems available for new build homes.
Insulation and ventilation go hand-in-hand, retaining warmth and maintaining air flow are centrical factors in creating the ultimate healthy living environment. There are a multitude of insulation options available now that are more sustainable and healthy in your home than traditional fibre-glass insulation. From ThermaCork, to Icycene spray, Aerogel & Cellulose, to more familiar materials such as cotton, denim, sheep’s wool and polystyrene. A well-insulated home (no matter the material) will drastically reduce energy consumption, and thus power bills, as well as ensure dry air for easy breathing. When it comes to insulation and ventilation options for your new home, it’s best to consult your Orange Homes’ designer. These upgrades are most affordable in the early stages of a property’s life and can lead to lower bills, improved health, and fewer emissions from your home.
Alternative Material Choices
Orange Homes offers sustainable and Eco-friendly building material alternatives to reduce your home’s environmental impact.
Saveboard, a New Zealand brand, recycles tetra packs into gib-board alternatives. This product has ‘character’ and is not flawless by design. If you like this unique characteristic for your home or certain areas like outdoor sheds or garages, we recommend checking out the product at here.
If the walls feel a step too far, then other more low-key material choices can still have a green impact on your home. Natural fibre carpet, drapery and fabric can be great options, as can locally made tiles and flooring.
Cork flooring is a relatively new option in sustainable home design and builds, but a very stylish and practical one. The tree is not cut down, but only the bark harvested — which grows back in three years. A renewable resource that is also anti-microbial, fire retardant, and naturally insect-repelling. A cork floor can last anywhere between 10-30 years depending on its quality, so if you do your research, cork can be an incredibly healthy and sustainable option for your next build.
Orange Homes is delighted to be a part of your building journey — and helping you make sustainable and healthy choices for your dream home is our distinct pleasure. If you are in need of suggestions, ideas or design advice, get in touch with Orange Homes today. Your new build home may be a lot closer than you might think!