Eco Design Advisors

Eco Design Advisors help improve the comfort and health of New Zealanders by providing free independent advice on home performance.

Working for local councils, their advice can range from new builds and significant renovations, to behaviour change and simple retrofits. The service can take the form of a conversation around a table, or a comprehensive on-site home assessment.

EDAs work closely with EECA, BRANZ, MBIE, and Consumer NZ to provide the best available information to homeowners, landlords, tenants, and the building industry. The service was established in 2006, and is a free service offered by various councils, including the Christchurch City Council.

Those involved explain that before starting a project, it is important for the homeowner to be fully informed about why healthy homes are needed, and the basic principles required to achieve them, and it is essential for designers to understand what the homeowner is trying to achieve.

Healthy home designs mean that the building is viewed as one whole system, comprising several independent systems that interact, such as heating, ventilation, and solar systems, enclosed in a high-performance building that is also a collection of components and systems (foundations, walls, windows, ventilation etc) working together.

Examples of integrated systems thinking include:
• The relationship between the ground and the foundations.
• The relationship between solar PV and storage of thermal energy in the hot water system and its optimal control with a timer.
• As the insulation levels go up, so must the quality of the air barrier system to avoid condensation.
• A well-designed ventilation system tuned to the design and layout of the home, and its occupants’ needs.

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