The New Zealand construction industry had an impressive year in 2017. With housing shortages from one end of the country to the other, there was plenty of opportunity for investors and builders. Sustainability has played a revolutionary role in the construction industry in the past three years. 2017 was a breakthrough year for sustainable building. There was an increase in interest for eco-home designs and Biophilic architecture, both providing a sustainable way of living.
2017 was a big year for the construction industry. The nationwide investment towards construction is estimated to peak at $37 billion in 2020. It is not known whether these figures have been exceeded or overestimated. With a new Government in New Zealand, it is expected that investment in construction nationwide will increase as houses are being built for families. Canterbury will continue with the rebuild, it will be Auckland and surroundings areas that will see greater investment towards building homes.
Summer is here and with our recent high temperatures, we are a little more tempted to switch the air conditioner on. Most of us would, if it weren’t for the power bill that empties our wallets. Most residential homes have heat pumps that can be used in any season. It warms in winter and cools in summer. They are known to be one of the most environmentally friendly sources of heat and cooling. But they still cost us big time. So here are a few tips and tricks to help keep more money in your back pocket this summer, because why not?
It has been six years since the devastation of the Christchurch Earthquake. The rebuild is well underway and the city is bustling with life. The same can’t be said for the more than 8,000 sections condemned in the red zone. There has been an obvious focus on rebuilding the central city and infrastructure so that businesses can revive and a new beginning can be made.
Biophilic design has been a hot topic in the construction industry this year. There is a focus on bringing the natural environment inside so that we can satisfy our innate need for a connection with nature. But what isn’t emphasised in this design strategy are other ways of implementing nature in the build and renovation of your home.
Biophilic design builds on our innate biological relationship with nature. We all know the feeling we get when we are immersed in nature. The sounds that relax us, the visuals that are captivating, the smells that remind us of the past can be explained through biophilia. A term that is used to describe human kinds innate biological connection with nature; which can be stimulated through biophilic design and buildings. When designing a biophilic home the term ‘pattern’ is often used. Biophilic patterns are not limited to physical patterns that we can see. Patterns are used to describe the psychological, physiological and cognitive benefits that biophilic design has to offer. It is a way of clarifying how patterns fit together and are dependent on the environment, just as biophilic design does.
We have never been so disconnected from the environment as we are today. Our natural instinct is to survive, and to survive in today’s world we must work. Gone are the days where we were surrounded by native forest, where we would hunt for our food and live among the environment we were born in. We continue to distance ourselves from our old ways of living. For many years, living with a connection to nature was seen to be socially undesirable. You were classed as a Hippie or a Greeny, there was a stigma that most did not want to associate themselves with. It is only in the most recent decade, through education, that it is socially acceptable and a norm to care for the environment.
When it comes to designing a biophilic environment, there is no universal solution. There are considerations that will influence the design aspect of any biophilic environment. Biophilic designs should be influenced by the local environment while adapting to the situation at hand. We believe that we should blend into nature, not modify it.
Imagine being able to live in a home that is seamlessly integrated with nature. Biophilic design and architecture is a revolutionary way of reconnecting nature and man-made environments. Urbanisation has diminished our connection with nature; this new way of building brings nature to us. Biophilic designer Oliver Heath says: “Biophilic design is more than just bringing the outside in, it’s about making and strengthening a connection with many aspects of nature.” Europe has embraced this change towards nature and have enjoyed natural increases in wellbeing.
Solar systems have increased dramatically over the past five years. Now is the perfect time to install a solar system while prices are remaining constant. We don’t expect solar systems to get any cheaper. Instead, new technologies will be incorporated in the packages such as battery packs.