One of New Zealand’s most sustainable and energy-efficient homes – with no electrical connections to the national power grid – has been placed on the market for sale.
The luxurious three-bedroom home in the North Otago beachside settlement of Shag Point is self-sufficient in terms of power, using high tech solar and wind energy generated from the site, meaning no power bills and an entirely ‘off the grid’ lifestyle.
While low on energy use and with standard 240 v wiring throughout, the house utilizes energy efficient lighting and maintains all the creature comforts and luxury those living in traditionally powered houses are used to. The modern kitchen has a dishwasher, the oven and hob run off bottled gas.
This home is exceptionally warm, being double-glazed throughout and with extra thick walls insulted with sheep’s wool. A solar/wood boiler combination system provides hot water for underfloor heating throughout the house and there is a 3.5 kw studio log burner in the upstairs living area. A diesel generator provides back-up in the case of an extended lack of sun or wind to generate power to the house battery bank.
The 209 square metre residence is a cutting-edge design by award winning Blair Johnston of architecture practice Warren & Mahoney in Auckland.
Bayleys Dunedin salesperson Kate Rabbidge, who is marketing the property, said the six-year-old three-bedroom home is on a 5.5ha block of land – of which approximately four hectares is of pruned thinned radiata pine – providing an ample long-term fuel supply for the log burner, as well as potential future source of income should the logs be harvested.
“The site is oriented to the north for passive solar gain to the lower concrete level, as well as allowing the solar panels on the roof to extract the maximum amount of daily sunshine hours to recharge the battery cells,” she said.
“It’s positioned in a completely private and tranquil location, with beautiful sea views, and is only a few minutes’ walk through the pine forest to the beach.
“The wind turbine is set away from the home’s communal living areas and bedrooms so there is no noise from blade rotations or visual distractions.
“Of course, apart from its design elements a huge benefit of this home is that aside from the gas required to fuel the oven and hob, there are no power bills whatsoever, because it is completely ‘off the grid’ and self-sufficient in terms of energy.”
The coastal settlement of Shag Point is some nine kilometres north of Palmerston on State Highway One and is around an hour’s drive from Dunedin. The area dates back to the 1830s when it was settled as a whaling station, before coalmining became the predominant activity in the 1860s – right through until 1972.
The coastal location is famous for the discovery of a seven-metre marine reptile, a plesiosaur, which is now part of Otago University’s fossil collection.
Shag Point is also now an eco’ tourism destination – with fur seals regularly spotted on the beach, colonies of yellow-eyed penguins nearby, and whales and dolphins a regular sight seen swimming close in-shore.