The Block NZ has been evolving since its kick-off in 2012. From the outset, the goal of The Block 2016 was to be the greenest block ever. This year's homes were built for the occupants with health, efficiency and sustainability at the forefront of design. All four homes achieved a 6 or 7 Homestar rating.
2016's homes have all been designed by Context Architects who took the lead in the sustainability narrative of the season to highlight the trade-off between building affordable housing and future fuel poverty of home occupants.
Schneider Electric, the existing electrical technology partner of The Block, whose values lie in energy management and sustainable use of energy, were delighted with this year's approach and the opportunity to highlight simple energy management solutions across the homes that anyone can implement.
While the building materials were chosen to ensure less energy needs to be used and that as little heat is lost as possible, it is inevitable that homes will use energy in their day to day running. Schneider Electric aims to ensure this energy is used only when needed, and is reliable and safe.
Reducing energy waste
One of the key ways to reduce the homes' power use was to ensure that as little power is wasted as possible.
Sensors were used indoors and sensor lights outdoors to ensure that areas which only need to be lit for short periods are controlled by sensor. This proved to be a popular choice for the contestants in entryways, stairwells and sculleries.
Dimmers were used in living areas, bedrooms and bathrooms to reduce power waste and create ambience. Paired with LED lights, compatible dimmers ensure only a minimal amount of energy is used to light a space to the desired effect, and can be installed with a rotary twist knob, or a matching pushbutton switch.
A Schneider Electric EVlink electric vehicle (EV) charger was installed in the garage of each home. In new homes future proofing can be considered by pre-wiring for electric vehicle chargers without having to install one. EV chargers can be wired on a simple three phase power connection, while lower output chargers for small vehicles can be connected to a standard power source.
All teams on The Block chose the flush matt finish Saturn Zen switch and socket range for their homes which have all the extras such as dimmers, USB chargers, fan controllers and more to ensure a seamless look.
Architects: Context Architects
Supplier: Schneider Electric