The 140sqm, two-storey home in Addington, Christchurch was designed and developed by architectural designer Bob Burnett who is part of the SUPERHOME movement - an industry-led initiative to promote and normalise better quality and energy efficient homes that significantly exceed code minimum through open source sharing of design, new technologies and construction information. The target is 1,000 new homes around the country that achieve ratings of between 6 and 10 Homestar.

Starting from the slab, Bob chose energy efficient building concepts and products. “Energy efficiency, thermal comfort, a healthy indoor environment, sustainability and affordability should be basic requirements for a home – and Homestar’s independent rating is an important measure to demonstrate sustainability credentials,” he says.

Features of the 10 Homestar house:

  • A Dual Hydronic underfloor central heating system that is integrated into the fully insulated slab and also heats the domestic hot water with power provided by PV solar panels with the world’s most environmentally sound new battery technology.
  • ‘Frame Saver’ - a new timber framing type and thicker LVL (laminated veneer lumber) walls
  • European style PVC windows.
  • Passive solar design is achieved with thicker floor and interior black floor tiles aid solar gain.
  • Exterior cladding consists of blonded larch and black aluminium Ultraclad for ‘Solar Walls’ that prewarm fresh air supplied a ERV (energy recovery ventilation) system.
  • Innovative energy drains (with copper coil heat exchangers) pre-warm water supplied to the showers by extracting heat from the waste water before it reaches the grey water treatment systems.
  • Treated grey water is added to the rain water tank and pumped back in for use in toilets and the    washing machine and tub.
  • Full height doorways encourage airflow and create an illusion of spaciousness.
  • A slatted oak wall and staircase separates the kitchen and dining area from the living room, where doors open to a Tigerwood deck and courtyard edible garden. 
  • Landscaping has been designed to meet the rigorous standards of Homestar with permeable surfaces, achieved with the use Firth FlowPave, and food producing and native plants included for ecological biodiversity.


“As we were nearing the end of the build we contacted Firth for the supply of a permeable paving solution to meet the strict Homestar requirements,” explains Bob. “Ninety percent of the site must be permeable.

Firth has several permeable options and we chose FlowPave 200mm x 100mm x 80mm in Black Sands as it has an enlarged nib on all four sides which creates very good drainage capability. It was a bit of a tight schedule in the end to get the house finished for the launch and Firth were very good in getting the pavers ordered, made and delivered in just two weeks.

We were very grateful to them for the supply of a really good product and the speed in which they delivered it.  We also used one of their contractors, Kreisel Contracting, to lay the pavers and they also did an amazing job working around the clock to get it finished in time.” 

In Bob’s view, building high-quality green houses should be standard practice in New Zealand, and over the next few months he will begin sharing technology and construction methods on the SUPERHOME website (

Firth FlowPave is one of the paver options in the Firth EcoPave® System. The paver has enlarged nibs on all four sides which creates wider than usual gaps around each paver. This space allows water to filter through to the underlying drainage medium.

  • Ideal for light to medium residential traffic areas including car parks
  • Nib spacers create wide gaps around pavers to allow water drainage
  • Requires only 50 pavers per m2
  • Dimensions: 200mm 100mm x 80mm


Typical cross section using EcoPave®



Firth’s environmentally friendly range of products include:

Firth’s EnviroBlend® concrete, click here for more information.

Firth’s EcoPave® systems include: EnviroPave®FlowPavePorousPave®Gobi® Block and Grass Paver


What is Homestar?

Homestar is the comprehensive, national, independent system that rates the health, comfort and efficiency of New Zealand homes, on a scale of 1-10, at both the Design and Built phase. A 6 Homestar rating, or higher, provides assurance that a home will be warmer, healthier and cost less to run than a typical code minimum home. Homestar ratings are assessed by qualified professionals and certified by the New Zealand Green Building Council. They take into account energy, water, materials, waste, ventilation, health and comfort, and other environmental factors. Homestar also has an online tool for homeowners to rate and improve their own homes. Bob Burnett Architecture are Certified Homestar Assessors. For more information on Homestar click here.

Project Details

Customer: Bob Burnett - Architectural Designer

Paving Contractor: Krisel Contracting

Location: Addington, Christchurch

Product: Firth FlowPave in Black Sands



Firth’s FlowPave in first ever 10 Homestar rated house Image Firth’s FlowPave in first ever 10 Homestar rated house Image