New homes

The High Performance House at HIVE

The High Performance House, built at the Home Innovation Village (HIVE) in Christchurch in 2013, trialled an innovative new building system, Warmframe. The house showcased the benefits of off-site construction (lower build costs and speed and quality of construction) and excellent performance (warm, healthy, energy and water efficient, low running costs).

A test home

Warmframe was the brainchild of New Zealand Steel and developed in prototype together with InsulPro.

Warmframe uses steel framing with high performance insulation which is installed to a very high standard, minimising heat loss. In combination with double glazing, these products create a wall system with an R value (the measure of how well insulation works) which is significantly greater than required by the Building Code.

New Zealand Steel’s vision was that Warmframe could be utilised in off-site construction, with cladding, windows, doors and coatings added in the factory.

The High Performance House was the opportunity to test run Warmframe and off-site construction in an an entire house built in 10 weeks in a factory.

A collaboration

The house was part of a larger programme of innovation – the New Category of Home project – which aimed to find housing solutions which are high performing, modular and suited to producing volume housing, but which also reduce the time and cost of construction.

The project was a collaboration between industry partners (NZ Steel, Frametek-RFS, InsulPro, Fletcher Aluminium and Resene), and was facilitated and project managed by Beacon Pathway.

A demonstration home

The house was designed by Salmond Architecture using their High Performance Houses system. This uses combinations of pavilions and links with a range of options in cladding, roof type and fit-out available to customise each home.

The house was designed to be energy and water efficient, including a water tank, solar hot water, and photovoltaic panels.

A show home

Unlike Beacon’s other demonstration homes, the High Performance House was a fully open show home within the HIVE Home Innovation Village.

Visitors liked the spacious open plan design, particularly the large living areas, and the warmth of the house. People often asked if there was underfloor heating as the floor felt so warm.