As part of the NZ Green Building Week, the first project we are profiling is a two-storey home on Herald Island dubbed ‘The Mangrove home’.  Charissa Snijders was the architect and Lautrec provided the structural engineering.  We started the project in 2015 and construction was completed this year.

The Mangrove home engages with how we can live more sustainably and reinforces the idea that simple steps can be taken to go beyond immediate needs so we can benefit long term.

To do this, we discussed with the clients early on and prior to any design being done key aspects that would minimise the long-term environmental impacts. This helped us design the home symbiotically and cohesively integrate the sustainable features. rather than place sustainable add-ons to the home. A good example of this is the green roof over the garage which significantly reduces the overall stormwater runoff and helps lower the impact on the nearby waterway. It also has the aesthetic advantage of creating a natural separation from the main house and studio, reduces glare and heat build-up whilst creating a beautiful space to be in and overlook from different parts of the home.

Materials were also considered and wherever possible were chosen to minimise adverse environmental and health impacts.   This included:

  • Choosing materials that suppliers were able to prove were free from toxic chemicals to make the indoor air quality cleaner.
  • Abodo eco timber cladding and decking was used for the weatherboards and extensive decking.  All their materials have no toxic chemicals and are created from renewable, certified ethical wood products.
  • To increase insulation levels we decided to use 150mm framing with Declare label mammoth insulation to the walls and floors.  This is a significantly higher insulation level than the New Zealand Building Code and not only provides greater comfort but reduces the amount of heating needed.
  • Pro clima high performance building wraps were used for the external walls and roof underlay. 
  • Resene environmental paint was also used both internally and externally.
  • Ian Sumner, a solar expert from Eco Solar was involved at concept stage to design the solar hot water and solar power to help the house produce most of its energy and water heating year-round.