With the winter months upon us, some of us are sadly reminded of the cold, damp houses we live in. Te Whare Hauora CEO Hiria Te Rangi is seeking to introduce new technology to alert you as to whether your home is making you sick.

Every year 1600 New Zealanders die from conditions caused by cold, damp homes (according to the University of Otago). Ms Te Rangi says that the recommended home temperatures for children and elderly is 21 degrees and for healthy adults, it’s 18 degrees. However, most homes are sitting at an average of 14 degrees. The new technology has a sensor that is linked to your phone or internet-enabled device and alerts you when these metrics fall before their recommendations.

So what can we learn from this? When we build new, build better, so that you don’t end up here.

At Maxim, we ensure that all our builds include full roof and floor insulation throughout. You need to make sure that you have the right level of thermal resistance (R-value) for your location. Your Maxim consultant can give you more information on zone specific R-values, as well as the calculation and modeling method for showing compliance with the Building Code Clause H1.

At Maxim, we recommend considering going over and above the R-value requirements. In addition, with your double glazing, consider frames that have a thermal break or are made of insulating materials. Choose low-emissivity (low-E) glass, which allows light and heat in, but reflects some of the escaping heat back inside the room. Double glazing with low-E glass cuts window heat loss by about 20 to 30%, compared to double glazing without low-E. Windows with an inert gas filling, such as argon, are a better insulator than air and can reduce heat loss by 3 to 9% compared to double glazing with an air filling.

New Zealand housing has been widely described as “old and cold”. At Maxim, we are seeking to change this stereotype, one home at a time.