New homes

Beacon has extensive experience in research into what makes new houses healthier and more efficient – and we’ve tested it in monitored demonstration homes.

What we’re working on now

Currently, we’re following up with part 2 of the Wall project to measure the actual R value of walls with additional timber and look for practical cost-effective solutions.

We’ve looked at how to shape a project to influence low carbon building. This may be via another demonstration home or some other way – the next step is figuring that out.

Latest research

The first part of a wider investigation into thermal bridging in walls found that an average of 34% of the wall is timber framing. This is important because calculations for how much heat loss goes through walls assume less timber than our original Wall project found.

The implications? More heat is escaping our walls than we think!

Over 80 industry stakeholders participated in our recent webinar to discuss and collaborate on potential solutions for better insulated walls. We hope this will be an ongoing collaboration to find practical cost-effective and better performing solutions so the video of the entire webinar is available here.

Key Beacon projects

Front face Waitakere NOW Home
The Waitakere NOW Home

The Waitakere NOW Home was Beacon’s first live research project. It was designed to be warm, dry, healthy, cheaper to run and affordable, using materials and systems available in 2005.

Monitored for two years while a family lived in it, its results have informed government regulations and policy. And it’s still outperforming the new builds of today.

NZ Housing Foundation house

Working with New Zealand Housing Foundation’s standard home plans, Beacon applied our knowledge from the NOW Homes to remake this shared ownership home into a very warm, healthy home for the new family.

“Our last house was a fridge box. This is so much warmer”

NZHF family
The High Performance House at HIVE

The High Performance House at HIVE showcased offsite construction and trialled the new Warmframe technology.

It was a collaboration with New Zealand Steel, Insulpro, and Tasman Insulation, and part of PrefabNZ’s HIVE village in Christchurch.

Assessing marae sustainability

Beacon’s Verney Ryan has been assessing the sustainability of marae, focusing on where the iwi can save on energy and water costs, and how to ensure a warmer, drier, healthier environment for hui. Many marae have the potential to harness renewable energy and water, or to make good use of local energy supplier plans.

Exceeding the minimum for volume home builders

In looking at whether we could influence clients of volume home builders to specify beyond Code minimums, we developed a variety of ways to present choices to clients.

Life cycle assessment of the Waitakere NOW Home

The huge amount of data available for the Waitakere NOW Home meant it was possible to do a full life cycle analysis for it, very helpful data as we start to focus on carbon.

Construction costs of social / affordable homes 2015

We developed a cost tower using construction cost data from social and affordable new houses. Now several years old, the tower still gives an insight into where the biggest costs lie.

ACCESS COMING SOON: What else is in the knowledge base?
  • Beacon’s High Standard of Sustainability
  • Medium density housing assessment tools
  • Clawback of heating services
  • Solar water heating in NOW Homes and Papakowhai Renovations
  • Choosing the right renewable energy for your site
  • Life cycle assessment of the Waitakere NOW Home