Eagles is another supporter of greater use of pre-fabrication, and says the poor build quality of many of our existing homes is a major problem.
“Over 30% of our homes are damp and cold, and many are mouldy. That’s leading to one of the highest rates of respiratory disease in the western world.
“We have huge numbers of kids going to hospital each year for respiratory issues; and people taking time off work to look after those kids.
“We are one of the few countries in the world without an energy performance certificate at point of sale, so that’s key. Once we have that - and the government has committed to it - we can establish a deep retrofit programme.
“It is crucial to get this started. Buildings and homes make up 20% of New Zealand’s carbon emissions.”
Part of any retrofit programme will include innovative ways of funding the work, such as ANZ’s interest-free home loan top-ups for the installation of heat pumps and insulation and its loans to customers buying, building or renovating a home to a 6 Homestar rating or higher.
When it comes to housing, Moller says there is no one-size-fits-all solution, and it’s possible to design and build innovative houses on a budget.
“What is really cool about Grand Designs NZ is we are getting to share that. There is some cracking stuff. We had two beautiful examples this year of very inexpensive houses.
“They were the Lighthouse, a clifftop home built for under $300,000, on a $150,000 section. The other was a $600,000 home on the coast in Paekākāriki.”
He says it is also good to remember that high-quality, healthy and sustainable social housing is being delivered in New Zealand for just under $600,000 by government housing provider Kāinga Ora.
“The point is you can easily do it. It just shows you it can be done. But we have got to think differently and stop acting like sheep.”
His vision for the future of housing is smaller developments where people live and work.
“We will end up with a completely different way of living in New Zealand. Compact, sustainable, walkable villages. They’ve been around for millennia, it’s a good way to live, and that would be so much more fun.”
And when it comes to realising your Grand Design, his advice is to see how you can do more with less.
“Make it 20 to 50 percent smaller than your crazy, outrageous ambitions …and don’t just do it well, do it crazily well.”