Written by Managing Director at Diverse Builders, Neil Rose

In the 3 decades I’ve been building homes, I’ve always put a big emphasis on making sure they don’t cost a fortune to run. It’s always good to practice what you preach, so building new offices gave me a good excuse to use as many different approaches as I could.

Lots of it you can’t see, but you sure can feel the difference it makes. At this time of year we enjoy our hydronic floor heating, which we back up with split systems. We don’t like the idea of wasting power by heating rooms that aren’t being used, so we’ve built each of our offices with sliding doors and its own split system. Staff who feel the cold love it, because they can work together in a space that’s warm as toast, while us more warm-blooded types can enjoy working at a desk without working up a sweat.

All of our windows are double glazed, except for a few round windows that add character to one wall facing a side street. The building has great natural light, and when we do need to turn a switch on we’re paying less because of our low voltage lighting.

We’re producing quite a bit of power too, with the 27 solar panels we have on the roof. We are also pretty self-sufficient in terms of water, given the 23,000 litres of rainwater stored under our car park.

I sometimes shake my head when I see the opportunities people have missed to make long-term cost savings when they build a new house; things like building houses with no eaves. That’s a pretty serious compromise. It means you can’t open your windows without rain getting in, and you don’t have adequate protection from hot westerly sun. We design all of our homes with eaves and include good wall and roof insulation as well. If you’d like to go further than that, pop into our offices for a chat and I’ll show you the difference it can make.