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Featherston build earns award

A house built just outside Featherston has been recognised with the Environmental and Sustainable Excellence Award at the 2023 Registered Master Builders House of the Year competition, the winners of which were announced on Saturday night.

The new build, which was undertaken by a Wellington-based construction company Maridale Construction, was among almost 300 entries entered in the contest.

Nestled in the South Wairarapa hills, the off-the-grid two bedroom, two bathroom house is powered by solar energy and described as “the future of sustainable building”.

Solar panels at a high point on the site capture the sun’s energy, which is stored in a bank of batteries.

The thermal performance is “remarkable”, with temperatures of at least 20degC enjoyed without any heating.

The walls and roof of the 75sqm home were built with structural insulated panels that exceed building code thermal resistance standards and clad with coloured steel, while a 500kg wood-fired oven also warms the house and water when it’s cloudy.

Rainwater is fed into a lower holding tank, and on sunny days it is pumped up to a 30,000L header before being gravity fed back down to the house.

The wastewater system is a non-electric treatment system specifically designed for off-the-grid builds.

The home’s palette was designed to work with the surrounding pine trees – the living area, for example, is forest green and the flooring is recycled heart rimu.

It’s sunny, too, with light streaming through widespread glazing and skylights in the kitchen, and a loft that makes the most of roof space above the main bedroom suite

Maridale Construction owner Brian Marriner said the house took about 12 months for his crew to complete and, due to its challenging location, all the building materials to be transported to the site on 4WD trailers, and a helicopter was also deployed to make several deliveries.

“We had about 25 people, from apprentices through to the architect, involved in this project. It was a team effort,” Marriner said.

“The client was especially good to work with. His communication skills were fantastic, and he is a really nice person.”

Two other builds from the region also made it through to the national finals, although they ultimately didn’t win through.

Dawes Construction had won a regional Pink Batts Craftmanship Award for a holiday beach home build at Riversdale Beach.

Company owner Marty Dawes said at the time that it was “pretty pleasing’ to be recognised for a job that involved “a lot of fine detailing and intricate timber, steel, and metal work.”

Meanwhile, KB Gleeson Building had won accolades for a 360 square metre build in in the hills above Carterton’s Parkvale that features 180 degrees of uninterrupted views stretching from Eketāhuna to the Remutaka ranges.

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