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Why we should ditch 300 square metre builds


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Date: 30/08/2020


STUFF ARTICLE

Big houses continue to be built throughout New Zealand. You know the sort – 300+ square metres with three living areas, a big kitchen, five bedrooms, three or four bathrooms and a multi-car garage where you can keep all the toys.

And we continue to see these houses being built because the demand is there.

One of the faces behind the Superhome Movement knows a key reason why these houses are built. (And the word “superhome” is not used here to describe a large house; it’s the term given to a house that performs incredibly well on a whole other level – a sustainably built home that is energy-efficient, cheap to run, healthy, and comfortable to live in through all seasons.) 

Damien McGill says people continue to be focused on building the biggest square-metre house they can get for their money because “they want a bigger house than their mates”. 

He says it’s all about status, and it’s not necessary. “Everybody has a finite budget, but it shouldn’t be all about size. We all grew up in 100 square-metre homes. Where did we go from there to wanting a 300 square-metre home plus garage?”

 

“Why do we even need a four-bedroom house with a room in case we have ‘guests’? If you didn’t build that fourth bedroom, you could pay for a lot of hotel rooms for your guests with the money you saved.”

‘IT’S MAKING US SICK’

McGill believes we need to go back to housing that’s a lot more sustainable and healthy – the money spent on large houses that meet minimum building code requirements would be better spent on building smaller, sustainable houses that will last. And he means houses that are airtight, with thermally broken door and window joinery, extra insulation and ventilation systems.

The movement’s website states it bluntly: “NZ’s building standards are over 20 years behind; and it’s making us sick.

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