What is the Build Back Smarter project?

Back to Existing Homes

The Build Back Smarter pilot project aimed to show that home performance improvements can and should be included in the ‘standard’ repair of earthquake damaged Christchurch homes. 

What is building back smarter?

The extensive repair and rebuilding required in Christchurch presents an opportunity to include upgrades which will improve a home’s performance - we call this building back smarter.  

A high performing home uses less energy and water, has a healthy environment (warm, dry, ventilated) and makes the most of renewable energy and rainwater.  Typically, performance upgrades might include: high levels of ceiling, floor and wall insulation, clean heating, solar or heat pump hot water, rain tanks and water efficiency measures.

Having a home which performs well for you means that you will enjoy:

  • a healthier, warmer home with lower health costs and fewer days off work or school
  • lower power and heating bills
  • better resilience and ability to meet future challenges
  • reduced demand on centralised electricity and water networks


The project’s objectives

The Build Back Smarter pilot project was a way to work out how to include home performance improvements into the ‘standard’ repair of earthquake damage without slowing down the rebuild process or minimising additional costs. 

The pilot project aimed to identify and address the barriers to upgrading homes during earthquake repairs, so that the demonstration can be scaled up and used city-wide.

By including upgrades at the time of repair, we believe Christchurch homes will be more resilient and  better able to meet future challenges such as resource scarcity and climate change.  Through doing this we want to provide homes which cost less to run and reduce demand on centralised electricity and water networks.