Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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Efficient Living Spaces With Net Zero Energy Consumption

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posted on 2022-03-30, 20:51 authored by Athukorala, Sidath

To fulfill their agreement on the 'Paris Treaty on Climate Change,' the New Zealand government has taken the initiative to move into zero-carbon houses by 2030. However, the target date of 2030 is not far away, and we need to take relevant actions from now onward.

"Cities are on the front lines of the growing physical risks associated with climate change. They are home to more than half of the world's people, and by 2050, that figure is projected to rise to 68 percent" (Boland et al., 2021). Finding of Boland shows that we need to target urban population and get them to have net-zero energy houses by 2030 to fulfill NZ’s commitment towards Paris Treaty. Therefore, this research activity will target net-zero energy urban housing, which could minimize carbon emissions in New Zealand.

For this Project, it was assumed that the client's primary focus is environmentalism and want to live in an efficient house with a net-zero energy consumption which in turn minimize their carbon footprint. It was also assumed that clients would expect comfortable but compact living as their contribution to eco-friendly living. Hung (2010) states that people can experience nature as home and home like experience in nature (Hung, 2010). Therefore, more natural environment around Project houses will be provided to connect people and their homes to nature. The architectural concept of 'Living in Harmony with Nature in a Net-Zero Village within the City' has been introduced to meet clients' expectations. Individuals do not feel that they live in the nature as they did in the past. Apartments have separated from natural environment (Kooshali et al., 2015). Therefore, the Project houses will not consider attached townhouses.

The proposed research is expected to come up with suggestions and designs on how we could develop net-zero energy living spaces that could lead to zero carbon footprint houses. As part of the recommendations of the research, designs will be introduced. These designs can be used by different groups of people such as individuals, couples, and families. The model living spaces will be put up at the proposed site located near Petone beach. People could replicate and adapt the designs given in this research for constructing their living spaces.

In arriving the final design, to let the occupants live with nature, the Project houses had been set up in village like environment surrounded by natural vegetation. Suggestions were made to introduce natural ventilation and use of natural lighting. High R-value materials were recommended for the Project houses to minimize the energy consumption of heating and cooling.


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Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

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Author Retains Copyright

Degree Discipline


Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Architecture (Professional)

Victoria University of Wellington Unit

University Library

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

Wellington School of Architecture


Chicca, Fabricio