Ara Institute of Canterbury architectural student, Hannah Redman, confirmed her commitment to sustainable architecture as a volunteer guide to Welhaus's Pre-engineered Panelised Housing System (PPHS) on show at the Christchurch Exemplar Homes Self-Guided Tour this month. An initiative of the Superhome Movement, the tour has drawn strong Canterbury crowds, eager to learn more about green technologies available, each weekend in May.
Hannah, Youth Leader Volunteer talking design philosophy with Welhaus Development Director Dan Tremewan
Hannah, an Ara Youth Leader Volunteer, adeptly guided visitors through a Welhaus Superhome under construction, assisting enthusiasts to relate to the green technology on display. The home, known as the Alpine Abode, employs the Welhaus hybrid building system, encompassing precision-engineered Welpanels, in tandem with other high-technology timber products (including CLT floors and ceiling, New Zealand wool insulation, and climate-friendly features such as Pro Clima diffusion technologies). This combination ultimately provides consumers and the wider building industry, architects and designers with pre-fabricated, engineered and sustainable buildings and building modules (including walls, bathroom modules and the like).
Hannah has proven an exemplary ambassador for green building technology. As a result of the Superhome experience, Hannah has been offered a paid work opportunity with Welhaus while she completes her studies. Welhaus was impressed with Hannah's proactive and confident approach in spotting and capitalising on this opportunity to be involved in the Superhome movement.
Tremewan says Welhaus is interested in working with the young innovators and architects of the future, and that is why the company is now looking at building relationships between tertiary Institutions and the property industry (in both research and applied workplace links). "Inspiring talented young people to take these technologies forward, in the industry, is what it is all about", says Tremewan. "That is the future".
"Our computer-aided design panels are applicable in residential, commercial (apartments, office buildings), industrial (factories or plant), health, education and many other applications. We deliver completed buildings to clients, or can provide kitsets. It all depends on our customers' needs – on any one day we may be supplying completed homes to families, or precision-engineered components to architects" says Dan Tremewan, Welhaus Director. "Demand for smart building technologies is really surging".
Welhaus are the first company to meld New Zealand recycled wool insulation with CLT ceilings and floors, and use it exclusively in Welpanel walls to improve air quality and comfort. The Welpanel itself is an air tight, moisture diffusing, highly insulated, low energy, Carbon Zero panel. Approximately twice the thickness of panels typically built to New Zealand code, and twice the quality according to Homestar criteria, Welpanels are constructed using a novel double cavity system, which deals effectively with moisture and energy transfer.
The company is now making headlines with its innovative technologies – winner of a 2015 NZ Wood Timber Design award, and profiled in the Collaborate Canterbury Innovation Showcase launched this month by the Canterbury Employers' Chambers of Commerce and New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE).
Christchurch City Council Principal Advisor - Sustainability Tony Moore points to the value of increasing public understanding of green technologies: "We want people to experience these homes for themselves, see the technologies at work and help them to understand that it is possible to build better quality homes at little or no additional cost''.
"If people are thinking about building new homes we want them to be making informed choices and building healthy, sustainable homes. A visit to these seven exemplar homes will help inspire them,'' he said.